Grant Township residents will have help if snow hits roads later this week

photo by: Mackenzie Clark

Keith Browning, Douglas County director of public works and county engineer, stands by to answer questions during a Douglas County Commission meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019 at the county courthouse.

Residents of Grant Township in rural Douglas County will have help if snow strikes the area again later this week, despite a recent turn of events.

Douglas County Commissioner Nancy Thellman brought the matter to the governing board’s Wednesday meeting.

She said the roads in Grant Township, largely gravel, have seriously deteriorated because of the freezing, thawing and fluctuating winter conditions this year. This week, the township’s sole employee, who normally takes care of road maintenance, unexpectedly resigned, she said, and now there’s a potential for snow in the weekend forecast.

“Everyone’s looking to see if we can find a private operator who might come and help us out this weekend,” Thellman said, but she asked her fellow commissioners to approve a “contingency permission” for the township to get help from the county if needed.

photo by: Mackenzie Clark

Douglas County Commissioner Nancy Thellman, left, talks to the county’s public works director (not pictured) during a meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019 at the county courthouse. Also pictured are Commission Chair Michelle Derusseau and Vice Chair Patrick Kelly.

The county’s snow and ice policy says that with commission approval, public works can assist townships requesting aid, said Keith Browning, director of public works and county engineer. That would be after the county road network is cleared — “so it could take a while before we could get to a township,” Browning said — and the township would need to reimburse the county for necessary expenses.

The item wasn’t on the county’s agenda for the meeting, but Interim County Administrator Sarah Plinsky explained that handling townships’ requests for aid is standard practice, and “this is just sort of an emergency situation that we just recently became aware of.” Commissioners approved the request.

As of Wednesday evening, the National Weather Service in Topeka forecast showed an 80 percent chance of precipitation, including snow and possible freezing rain, on Friday.

In other business, commissioners approved the meeting’s consent agenda, which included some work on entryways and windows at Building 21 at the county fairgrounds.

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