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Transportation needs cost $$$

PRINCETON — The Bureau County Board has reviewed and approved county transportation expenses for the coming year.

At Tuesday’s county board meeting, Transportation Committee spokesperson Dan Rabe presented the county highway department’s 2013 maintenance program, which will cost $694,400 in Motor Fuel Tax money. There was no board discussion on the 2013 program, which was approved unanimously by board members present.

On Wednesday, County Engineer John Gross said the 2013 program covers operation costs of labor within the department; materials, such as rock, salt and gravel; and equipment. That amount is about the same as designated last year from Motor Fuel Tax and is only a portion of the total operating costs for the department. Also, the $694,400 does not include any outside contract work, he said.

At Tuesday’s board meeting, the board also awarded a bid for ice stone (sand) materials for the coming winter season to Tri Con Materials of Hennepin, at a cost of $4.15 per ton at the quarry or $8.95 if delivered.

On Wednesday, Gross said the county orders 1,100 tons of each, both at the quarry and for delivery, but will not use that much. If his crews are busy clearing roads, then the needed materials may have to be delivered. The ordered tonnage is about half of what is normally ordered, since there was so much material left over from last year, he said.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the county board awarded low bids for a countywide rural sign upgrade program, including necessary signs, posts and hardware. The total cost of the project is projected at $214,047, which is about $60,000 less than estimated, Rabe said.

Gross said the federally-mandated program will upgrade the reflectiveness of regulatory signs like speed limits, stop signs and warning signs. The program is funded through the Federal Highway Administration, at a 90 percent federal and 10 percent state breakdown.

The countywide program will cover all townships, municipalities with less than 5,000 people and county roads, which amounts to about 5,000 regulatory signs, Gross said. The mandated upgrades must be completed by 2015.

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