Laura Sievers resigns as county engineer

Lyon County engineer Laura Sievers reclines against the rail of a bridge in a rural part of the county. The 39-year-old Rock Rapids woman is closing out her seven-year tenure as county engineer in early June.

ROCK RAPIDS—Laura Sievers’ time working as Lyon County engineer is coming to a close.

The 39-year-old Rock Rapids woman, who has served as county engineer since 2013, submitted her resignation to the county board of supervisors earlier this spring.

“I really enjoyed it,” Sievers said. “The staff made my job easy and getting to know the other department heads here. It was a great job.”

During her seven years as engineer, Sievers had overseen the design and maintenance of Lyon County’s secondary road system, as well as its 245 bridges.

One aspect of the job she especially relished was seeing construction projects along the county thoroughfares get completed.

“I am a visual person. I enjoy road construction and seeing bridge projects and road projects take place,” Sievers said. “Some of the most frustrating construction jobs are always in the end the most rewarding jobs.”

Her resignation will be effective June 2, after which she will return to the job she held before becoming the county engineer: Transportation engineer specialist for the Iowa Department of Transportation’s District 3 office in Sioux City.

In that role, she will be involved in larger transportation projects than she has overseen in Lyon County. Those will include various projects along Highway 75, such as patching, a five-lane expansion in Sioux Center and a four-lane rebuild between LeMars and Sioux City.

She does not yet know where she, her husband and their three kids will move but mentioned LeMars, Sioux Center and Sioux City as possibilities.

“I’m from LeMars, so I’d like to stay in the area,” Sievers said.

In the meantime, she will be preparing her staff at the Lyon County Engineer’s Office for its upcoming slate of projects.

Those range from bridge rebuilding work to a concrete paving project in Lester to a culvert project near a bridge that crosses the Big Sioux River on the westernmost side of the county.

She also is requesting the county board of supervisors for a budget amendment to continue to pay for bridge replacement that needs to take place following last year’s flooding.

“You feel so lost right after those events happen, but slowly it feels like you start to come out of them as the roads get back in place and you can start getting bridges replaced under contracts and FEMA helps with those things,” Sievers said, referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“They’re a lot of work, but in the end you got a road back open for people that most desperately needed it.”

Given Sievers’ departure, Lyon County is looking for an interim county engineer to help short term while awaiting a full-time replacement.

Sioux County engineer Doug Julius expressed his interest in assisting Lyon County in a limited capacity during the Sioux County Board of Supervisors’ meeting Tuesday, May 12.

“They have some contract jobs right now that they have to have somebody watching over those. I would like to help them out on those but on a limited basis,” Julius said.

He explained a limited basis might be going to Lyon County once a week to spend four or five hours overseeing projects there.

The board members supported Julius’ decision to assist Lyon County but agreed it should be in a limited manner.