YORK – The county road department continues to haul gravel because the pits haven’t frozen them out yet.
But the supply of gravel will likely run dry this spring because there is such a high need this year, all around the state, thanks to the extremely wet year and flooding.
That bit of news was offered to the county commissioners this past week by York County Highway Superintendent Harvey Keim.
“We are still hauling gravel and rock – I think the supplies of gravel will eventually run out completely and we will haul until they are out,” Keim said. “With the weather, it hasn’t frozen out the pits but by spring there probably won’t be anything left to haul.”
He told the commissioners the road crews have been busy and are currently working on the last flood-damaged area in the county which is on Road 22 between Roads U and V (on the west half). Keim said that small stretch of road will probably be closed for a while yet.
They were also tasked this week with the purchase of a motorgrader for the roads department. Keim went through the state bidding process and came back with quotes from two companies, one selling Caterpillar and the other John Deere.
“My recommendation is to go with the Cat, for $242,320. This one is available right now while the John Deere still has to be built and would be out yet 45-60 days,” Keim told the commissioners.
“We do have a unit right now that is having problems,” said Commissioner Bill Bamesberger.
“Yes, and that machine is a 2009, it is one of the oldest in the fleet and it has a lot of hours on it,” Keim said.
The Caterpillar bid was slightly less than the bid for the John Deere, Keim said.
“We have $300,000 budgeted for this,” Bamesberger added.
The county board agreed to go forward with the purchase of the Caterpillar.
Commissioner Kurt Bulgrin asked about the ability to have GPS tracking on motorgraders. “So if someone says no one’s been down their road in two years, we can go look and say yes, there was one out there last week.”
“Yes, there is value in having GPS tracking, let’s say if an operator has a medical emergency or if someone gets stuck while moving snow,” Keim said. “But I also don’t like the idea of Big Brother watching or the costs associated with it.
“Oh, I understand that as well,” Bulgrin said. “I just wondered about it, the pros and cons, the costs, and to have a conversation about it.”