“And the DOT gave the county the Bonaparte road and bridge for next to nothing,” said Supervisor Mark Meek.
Nixon said that the county currently has three bridges over the Des Moines River to maintain for vehicle traffic in addition to the walking bridge at Bentonsport. The bridge at Kilbourne is closed.
“In the lower Des Moines, is there a county that has as many bridges over the Des Moines as Van Buren County?” Nixon asked.
Armstrong said he believes Wapello County has two.
“I appreciate the situation you’re in,” Armstrong said.
Supervisor Bob Waugh said one concern he has is erosion on a back slope along Highway 98 that will eventually have to be fixed. He also said the blacktop will probably have to be repaved north of Douds since its condition has deteriorated.
Nixon said he would like the county to receive $1.5 million per mile for the 1.8 mile stretch.
“Seriously, I’ll certainly take that back to the transportation department. I’ll be right up front with you, that’s more than the $500,000 per mile it would cost to repave a 3-inch layer currently. I don’t know if I can justify spending that,” said Armstrong. “So, I don’t know what they’ll say. This is a start, and it will take time.”
While he said he understands the county’s consternation, Armstrong said it did reflect an opportunity for the county to control its destiny and that the Iowa DOT did make an investment on that road.
Armstrong said the state has been in negotiations with other counties (Clarke, Lee and Muscatine counties) for transfers of jurisdiction of state roads to the county.
Nixon said he was concerned that the State DOT has “turned its eye” away from “little Van Buren County.” He cited the condition of Highway 2 east of the Junction of Highways 1 and 2.