Dolton Township looking for answers on closed bridge

Dolton resident Lawrence Arbeiter and Commissioner Mark Kaufmann discuss their concerns about the abandoned bridge with the county commissioners during last week’s meeting. Photo/Dawn Rye

Dawn Rye | Writer

During last week’s Turner County commissioner meeting, a motion was made to adopt a resolution to receive some funds. Once the county gets the money, they can allocate how much would go towards Dolton Township. 

Commissioner Mark Kaufmann was looking for a motion to receive money to be designated to Dolton for the bridge. 

Lawrence Arbeiter explained that the county condemned the bridge about seven years ago, located on 271st Street.

According to auditor Shelia Hagemann, the county didn’t receive any restitution for the damage done on the bridge.  

“So, we have been living without the bridge for a long time and it would be nice to have that bridge back,” commented Kaufmann.

Chairman Mick Miller asked about the road going north and south?

Kaufmann replied that 271st goes east and west while 446th is closed to the ethanol plant.  He recommended that the money go toward the bridge and understands the county would have to plan to complete the project. 

Commissioner Lyle Van Hove said he doesn’t recall the replacement cost of the bridge years ago. Kaufmann noted the recent cost analysis from a year ago is $300,000.00. 

Van Hove stated the county condemned the bridge because they were not going to receive money from the insurance company, no residents lived on that mile and the engineer recommended the county not fix the bridge.

Kaufmann believes the county would receive $80,000.00 and that would make an excellent down payment towards the bridge. 

Van Hove suggested the township meet with Highway Superintendent Kent Austin to discuss their options. 

Commissioner Tony Ciampa asked if the bridge the township’s top priority?

Brad Schroeder, member of the Dolton Town Board, explained that the tax rebate helped pay for the road going to a cattle barn owned by Ortman Family Farms Partnership. However, $20,000 will come out of the township’s pocket. He said the total bill was $74,000.00 to fix the half-mile road and $55,000 was paid through grants and other funding.

Resident Vince Adrian noted the township had not seen a dime from Ortman yet. 

Schroeder said the road couldn’t handle the cattle and feed trucks and in 2019, the moisture created more damage. Since then, the township has worked with some engineers and rebuilt the road to spec condition. 

Ciampa asked if there a road haul agreement? 

Schroeder stated no, they didn’t have a road haul agreement with Ortman, but they do now because of the road. 

Kaufmann said economic development is not supposed to raise taxes, it’s supposed to lower taxes. 

Schroeder explained that the number one priority is to fix the road to the cattle barn and the bridge would be listed as number two. 

Miller asked where the money comes from in the road haul agreement for damages?

Schroeder said it comes from Ortman and the road haul agreement states he has to use the designated route to feed and deliver cattle. 

Adrian noted the township would be responsible for it because Ortman won’t pay it when he hauls cattle and manure. 

Schroeder said there is still miscommunication between the township and Ortman, but the duo will work towards a solution.

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