People’s patience can wear thin at times – it’s a given. But an incident over the past weekend has the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors split on whether or not to pursue legal action against a motorist. The issue was raised during the weekly report of County Engineer Joel Fantz at Tuesday’s Board meeting
“The final pour of cement on the B63 project between Mallard and West Bend was finished late Friday,”?Fantz reported to the board. “But, while the concrete is in place, there is still much work left to do to finish the project.”
Fantz noted that shouldering work must now be completed to eliminate the drop-off from the pavements, as well as grinding rough spots, striping and the re-installation of signs. “There’s probably a good two and a half to three weeks of work left, but the contractor is well ahead of schedule, at 75 percent completion of their contract allowance,” Fantz said. But with that said, Fantz explained his concern.
“There was a golf tournament over the weekend at Mallard and two gentlemen in a pickup, towing a golf cart on a trailer, pulled up to the newly poured concrete, opened up the barrier fence and drove through that freshly-poured stretch to get to the golf tournament.”
Fantz explained that an employee of Allied Contracting was notified and went to check on the road. The employee tracked the truck involved in the incident to the golf course and the identity of the driver and occupant are known.
“The people from Allied looked at the road and said they like to keep everything off a poured road for at least 48 hours, and they recommend a full seven days,”?Fantz said. “But, we’ve looked at the stretch where this occurred, and it doesn’t appear at this time that there is any damage, but there could still be some.”
However, the revelation didn’t sit well with some of the supervisors.
“So, what happened to the people who drove on it?” asked Supervisor Ed Noonan.
“They would have been liable if someone else had driven through the fence and barricade they took down and had an accident,”?Fantz noted. “And if they had done physical damage to the road, they would be liable for that, too.”
“I think they ought to be fined severely,”?commented Supervisor Jerry Hofstad.
“Couldn’t they be charged with moving construction barricades or something like that?” Noonan asked.
“That makes me mad, too,”?agreed Board Chairman Keith Wirtz. “They ought to know better.”
“Perhaps we could have the County Attorney draft a letter,”?Fantz suggested. “We just really appreciate people looking after that road out there and making us aware of this.”
“The signs were up and the barricade was there,”?Hofstad said. “Those guys knew the road was closed. They were even told not to drive on it, but they did anyway. That’s just plain arrogance. They need to be fined.”
“They need to know how serious we take this,” agreed Wirtz, “But I don’t know about a ticket. Maybe a letter would be the way to go…”
Fantz offered to visit with the County Attorney to discuss options and report back to the board.
“I’d just ask the public to please be patient and allow all of the finish work to be completed before they try to drive on that road,”?Fantz said, bringing the conversation to a close.