During the public comments segment of the Butler County Commission meeting on Tuesday, June 6, Dub Rakestraw addressed the board of commissioners concerning the location of a road sign near his residence in El Dorado.

"Recently, the county changed road signs at the intersection of Highway 177 and Parallel. For decades, the sign has been on the north side of the road and said Northeast Parallel. They moved it across the road, and now it says Southeast Parallel. In 16 years, I never had anybody having trouble finding me. The first week this happened, three people couldn't [find me]," Rakestraw said.

He requested that the sign would be put back on the other side of the road and that it say NE Parallel again. County Administrator Will Johnson said he gave the information regarding the road sign to Public Works Director and County Engineer Darryl Lutz and that the issue would be taken care of.

"I'm just going to ask staff to go back out there and put in a new one that says northeast, and we'll put it back on the north side of the intersection," Lutz said.

During the regular items of business part of the meeting, Lutz presented several items to the board of county commissioners. First, Lutz sought contract approval for the Walnut River bridge deck replacement project on SW Haverhill Road. The board moved to approve the contract with King Construction of Hesston, subject to legal counsel approval, in the amount of $852,715.70 and authorized chairman Jeff Masterson to sign.

Next, Lutz discussed the three-party agreement between the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) and Butler County for the BNSF railroad crossing signals and gates at SW Kickapoo Road in El Dorado.

"If you'll recall, a few weeks ago – it may have been a couple months ago now, the county commission approved an agreement with KDOT to relocate a driveway for the ... property on the east side of the landfill. That work is completed, and now KDOT has forwarded to us the actual agreements for approval to install the new automatic gates and signals for that crossing," Lutz said.

The county's obligation in this project is to see to it that the advanced warning signs for the crossing are installed – which they have been already. Those signs will be maintained by El Dorado Township. The project costs about $250,000 and is completely paid for by federal funds administered through KDOT. The three-way agreement and installation of automatic signals and gates was approved by the board of commissioners, and chairman Masterson was authorized to sign.

Then, the board opened three bids for two single-axle dump trucks to be used by the public works department. The first bid was from Western Star at a total of $286,740, the second bid was from Wichita Kenworth at $306,230.10 and the third was from Summit Truck Group in Wichita at $285,770. The board of commissioners moved to accept the bids and recommended that staff evaluate, tabulate and bring back a recommendation.

The board also awarded bids for and approved the purchase of equipment and three vehicles for public works. Lutz mentioned that the bids were favorable and within the capital improvement plan (CIP) estimates. The low bids for each vehicle, respectively, met the needed specifications; Lutz and the board of commissioners went with the low bids for the vehicles.

"For the four-wheel drive cab and chassis for the weed department spray rig, the low bid would've been from Winfield Motor Company for a 2017 Ram 4500 cab and chassis for a total deliver price of 40,334 dollars. For the half-ton SUV, the low bid would've been from John K. Fisher, Incorporated for a 2017 GMC Yukon with a total deliver price of 41,933 dollars .... And on the third vehicle, the low bid for a heavy-duty, half-ton, four-wheel drive, extended cab pickup is for a 2017 Ram 1500 from Parks of Augusta for a total deliver price of 28,582 dollars," Lutz said.

Additionally, the board of commissioners approved a sign post purchase for the highway division of the public works department. The purchase of sign posts and hardware was from J & A Traffic Products of Blue Springs, Mo. in the low-bid amount of $19,507.50, including delivery.

Before a five-minute break, Lutz updated the board on the cold in place recycle surfacing project he proposed at the county commission meeting on Tuesday, May 2. The project would be a test program for three-and-a-half miles of road.

"We were actually going to grind up about three inches of existing road – and we were going to do it on ... the road that goes up into Burns – and then add a couple inches of cold mix on top of it. You know, we started out with a project cost that we thought was going to be around 280,000 [dollars] – which I was feeling very comfortable with. By the time I was done [negotiating], it was up to 350,000 [dollars]. I cut it off .... They gave me a bad taste .... We'll try something again, maybe in the fall, but I really am anxious to try a cold in place recycle project. So, what's proposed now is, we're going to do our regular cold mix that we produce with our pug mill. And we're going to lay it up to about an inch-and-a-half thick. The hope is to get a little bit smoother, truer surface out of using a lay-down machine than we can with a blade – particularly, given the amount that we're going to put down on a road," Lutz said.

Since Lutz decided to forego the cold in place recycle approach, he now plans on using a lay-down machine on NW Meadowlark Road in Whitewater, north of KS-196. The board of commissioners authorized the department of public works to contract with APAC Construction of Augusta for an estimated 10-day rental of a lay-down machine, plus crew and mobilization, in a total amount of $18,100. Lutz mentioned that, with the now-approved road maintenance approach, an additional nine miles of road could potentially be brought into good shape.