The Cass County Board of Supervisors are not happy with whomever is using their vehicles to traverse County Level B (dirt/mud roads) when they are wet, and in the process destroying the road, making it difficult if not impossible for farmers to move their equipment, livestock and crops, when the road dries out. Engineer Charles Marker says his Secondary Road crews normally stay off Level B Roads because of a lack of manpower and equipment to maintain Rock, Level B, and C-type roads.
Marker says they often receive requests to smooth Level B roads which have been damaged by 4-wheel drive vehicles, but those requests are typically not filled until Spring, due to the current work load. He says the only way to stop the destructive activity is if someone calls in a license plate number of the vehicle doing the damage after it rains. He added that the signs marking roads as Level B, say “Enter at your own risk removes the County’s liability if the person responsible for tearing-up the road has an accident, or if ruts that have not been fixed caused damage to other vehicles once the road dries up.
Supervisor Charles Rieken said it’s too bad people feel the need to tear-up the roads used by farmers to haul hay and for other, legitimate purposes. On top of that, the mud from their vehicles is brought into town and messes up city streets. Rieken says it’s not just young people who are behind the destruction. Some older people are just as irresponsible, according to Rieken.
Rieken says when it rains, rural residents should watch for vehicles that are causing the damage, take down a license plate and report it to the Sheriff’s Department. If you are willing to prove who caused the damage, the person responsible, he says, can be assessed the cost of repairs to the road.
The cost for fixing those roads doesn’t come cheaply, according to Marker. He says it could take several hours to fix a damaged road, at a cost of about $30 and hour to operate a grader, plus an average of $20 for the employee’s salary to run the machine and conduct the work.
Rieken said he’s used the roads when he farms, and the ruts caused by 4-wheel drive vehicles “Shakes the tar out of” planters, grain carts and combines. Marker said they’ve seen vehicles in the cities covered in mud, and they know how they got that way, but unless citizens step forward and prove where those vehicles were and when, the damage will continue to occur.