County road repair solution proposed

Alexis Barker

Administrator Dan Blakeman believes he may have found a solution to helping the county repair and maintain some 72 miles of Weston County roads.  

At the Sept. 4 county commissioners meeting, Blakeman reported that Crook County had recently signed an agreement with Tulsa, Oklahoma-based ONEOK Inc. for $508,000 for magnesium chloride for dust control on county roads the company will use as it completes a 900-mile pipeline from Montana to Kansas. 

According to Blakeman, a $500,000 bond, held for two years, was also part of the agreement. 

ONEOK operates and/or owns natural gas pipelines in Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.

ONEOK reported on Feb. 6 that construction was expected to begin in some areas in the spring and summer of 2018, with completion by the end of 2019. 

Blakeman hopes that Weston County can come to a similar agreement as Crook County with the company because of ONEOK’s plans to use “pretty much all of the county roads.”

“These companies are used to dealing with people who have something to give them, a document that says what
we want,” Blakeman told the commissioners.

Blakeman, administrative assistant Brooke Weigel and Williams had been working on preparing specifications and costs for fixing the county roads, he said. The work needs to be completed before ONEOK begins the Weston County phase of its pipeline project. He said that the company provided him with a list of all roads it will use. 

“The ask is going to be about $900,000 with a bond requirement with the attachment that they will do crossings and access the way Rick wants,” Blakeman said. 

“I think it is something we need to look at,” Blakeman said.

The total amount of the county’s request consists of the estimated costs to repair all the roads the company will use before ONEOK begins its work in the county, according to Blakeman. ONEOK will also be responsible for returning the county roads to the same pre-project condition, he said. 

The plan is to ask for gravel and a half-gallon of magnesium chloride per square yard of road, Blakeman said. 

“They will bring the roads up to county road standards both when they start and when they are done,” Blakeman said.

As in the Crook County agreement, he said, the bond will be held for two years.

“I’m going to tell you that I don’t know if they will go for it or not, but we have to start somewhere,” Blakeman said.  

The commissioners expressed support for the proposal. Blakeman said that the commissioners will have the opportunity to approve the proposal before it is given to ONEOK. 

“I think if they will go for it, then why not,” Commissioner Tony Barton said.



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