By Jim Magdefrau
VINTON – Rumble strips were again the topic for the Benton County Board of Supervisors at their meeting, Tuesday, Feb. 11, at the courthouse in Vinton. Despite concerns about the noise caused by the strips for those who live next to the road, the board decided 2-1 to install the strips.
The rumble strips on the county were proposed after a fatal accident at the intersection with Highway 30, between Van Horne and Blairstown. They are also looking at strips for hard-surfaced county roads that intersect with state highways.
One issue was the noise created by rumble strips a nearby residence. Supervisor Tracy Seeman met with the couple who lives near the proposed strips. They are not for the rumble strips. They preferred having two “stop ahead” lights on the road. The state controls the red flashing stop sign.
Engineer Myron Parizek explained standards used for the location of stop ahead signs and rumble strips.
Chairman Richard Primmer asked if the board was backtracking, since they wrote a letter of support for a legislative bill that called for rumble strips several weeks ago. Parizek said this bill does not take into consideration the Department of Transportation’s policies on rumble strips locations. This affects several other intersections in Benton County where residences are near the road and the noise of rumble strips.
Primmer felt putting in flashing lights instead of rumble strips was contrary to the letter of support that they sent to the state. Those who proposed the bill and rumble strips were concerned about the lives of people in the vehicles, and not the noise created by rumble strips.
“If we’re going to support it, we support it,” Primmer stressed to the board. If not they need to ask for their letter back.
Seeman proposed rumble strips on the south side of Highway 30, and a flashing light on the north side. Primmer felt again this was contrary to what they supported. “We said ‘all roads,’” Primmer said of the letter. Primmer read the letter to the board.
Primmer said there is a lot of traffic on the road. It won’t be popular with the residents there or those who live near other intersections. “But if we’re going to do rumble strips, we do rumble strips. That’s where I’m kind of at. It’s never good to have all of that extra noise, but still, on the other side of the coin, if it saves lives, that’s what we’re looking at.”
Parizek felt there could be flexibility in where to locate the rumble strips to get them farther from the house.
Primmer called for action. He made the motion to install rumble strips and lights on both sides of the highway, and make the strips as far away from the neighboring house as possible. “I know that’s not going to be a popular motion.” He stressed, “If it saves one life, that’s why we signed that letter.”
Seeman seconded the motion. Primmer and Bierschenk voted in favor, and Seeman was opposed.
A land use hearing was set for Zach Ellis for land in Section 3, Benton Township, for Tuesday, March 10, at 9:15 a.m.
A land use hearing was held for Matt and Kimberly Johnson for land in Section 26, Taylor Township. The change was approved. This for a new home.
The final plat was approved for R&O’s First Addition in Benton County. This is in Leroy Township. This adds a lot to an existing four-home plat.
A land use hearing was held for Jeffrey Trosdahl for Parcel B in Section 16, Polk Township. The change was approved.
A Class C Liquor License was approved for Tara Hills Country Club.
The board discussed an “acceptable use of internet” policy for the county. Ben Turnis, information technology services, presented information the policy, which may block some users if they violate the policy. It will be reviewed by the county attorney.
Bids were opened the rental of the farm land at Cedar Valley Ranch. There were three bidders. The winning bidder was Alan Merchant for $300 per acre.
The board approved the hiring of a communications specialist for the sheriff’s office. Sherry Sakshaug is moving from part-time to full-time for $16.92 per hour.
The board met in closed session with the county attorney regarding pending litigation.