ORANGE CITY—The Sioux County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved the path for secondary roads projects for the next five years Tuesday.
“It’s quite a bit of work to tackle over the next five years or so, but we have a lot of traffic on our roads and a lot of need out there,” said Joel Sikkema, assistant to the county engineer, who presented the plan.
“There’s quite a bit of estimating involved in both the revenue and expenses,” he noted.
Total expenses — which include construction, administrative and engineering costs, roadway maintenance and general roadway work — are expected to top $15.1 million for fiscal year 2021-22.
Sikkema highlighted a bridge overlay project on the bridge to Fairview, SD, that spans the Big Sioux River as one of the major projects for the next fiscal year.
“That deck doesn’t look too good anymore,” Sikkema said. “We’ve done a lot of patching on it. It’s up for an overlay this summer. We’ll get that let later on this year so that work can get done.”
County engineer Doug Julius said that the deck’s railing will likely be replaced as well, making the top of the bridge look quite new once the project is complete. said that some of the project costs will be shared with Lincoln County, SD.
Sikkema also pointed out two grading projects: On Jay Avenue, between Orange City and Alton for fiscal year 2021-22, and a stretch of 400th Street from Jackson Avenue to Hospers for fiscal year 2021-23.
Regarding the latter project, Sikkema said, “That’ll be an important project because it widens out the shoulders a bit and gets better slopes on the ditches for safety. By doing that grading work, we’re prepared so that we can do a concrete overlay on that to really upgrade that road.”
The main concrete paving project on the county’s five-year plan is 400th Street, from Sioux Center to Hospers. It will be done in two parts. The stretch of 400th Street from Sioux Center to Jackson Avenue will be done earlier, in fiscal year 2022-23. The stretch from Jackson Avenue to Hospers will be done in fiscal year 2024-25 to allow for the grading project to be completed.
As for asphalt resurfacing projects, Sikkema pointed out Elmwood Avenue north of Rock Valley to be done in fiscal year 205-26. He explained that the road’s surface has become rutted and is showing its age.
Another road to be resurfaced is north of Hull on Hickory Avenue and Jackson Avenue from Orange City up to 400th Street, also for fiscal year 2025-26.
Some bridgework in the northeast corner of the county is called for in fiscal year 2026. One bridge is located on Marsh Avenue, just south of 270th Street, while the other is on 330th Street between Kiwi and Larch Avenue.
These bridges were likely built in the 1950s or 1960s, and the vertical wood pilings underneath the concrete surface are visibly mushrooming out.
“It’s about time for those bridges to be replaced,” Sikkema said. “What will likely happen is that they’ll be replaced with something like a multi-plate or those sets of large culverts that we have. Those have been resilient for us in the past.”
The reason for a bridge replacement in those cases, according to Julius, is because of the different materials that make up different parts of the bridges. They have concrete decks that might be in good shape yet but feature a wooden substructure in need of replacement. Because of how the wooden components are incorporated into the concrete sections, the extensive work required to replace the wood means that the whole structure can be replaced just as easily.
The time has come for the Sioux County Board of Supervisors to begin the redistricting process.
Every 10 years following the census, the board must create a three-, five- or seven-member temporary redistricting commission. As county auditor Ryan Dokter informed the board Tuesday, it must create this commission by May 15.
The task of the commission will be to determine precinct boundaries, of which there are 16 in the county. The boundaries must be drawn in such a way that they contain no more than 3,500 people within them. The commission’s work would conclude Jan. 15.
The redistricting commission does not redraw the county supervisor district boundaries. That task is the responsibility of the Iowa Legislative Services Agency.
Since the county supervisors are all Republicans, they get to appoint a majority of the board. The chair of the Sioux County Democrats, Anita Cirulis, will appoint the remainder.
The supervisors approved the creation of a three-person redistricting commission, the same number as the previous redistricting commission. They opted to wait until their next meeting scheduled April 20 to appoint two people.