BEATRICE – The Gage County Board has voted to add four miles of West Hickory Road to the county’s longer-range road plans, commonly known as the six-year part of the one-and-six-year program.
The step taken Wednesday by the board is seen mainly as a planning move, should there be industrial development in that western Gage County area in the future. The supervisors will consider a formal resolution in support of the move, in two weeks. Although he voted with his colleagues, Supervisor Gary Lytle said including the project in the long-term plan may not be the best step.
"You don't fill up your one and six year plan with things you don't plan to do, in one to six years. I mean, I don't personally see this done in six years, so I don't really believe it belongs on the one and six year plan. If you broke it down and said the first mile or whatever in that six years.....that is something I could see legitimately. But, I'm not going to sit here and be a stick in the mud and say no, we're not going to do that."
Still, Gage Area Growth Enterprise Executive Director Trevor Lee said including West Hickory in the long-range plan is a good messaging step.
"So, if we're working with a local company now and they say we're not going to do this project unless this road gets paved...we could have a conversation and say it's going to get paved. New recruitment projects don't work that way, so that's one to say....the county's thought about this, it's in the six-year plan. It's a lot easier to put this as a six-year project and move it over into the one (year)....than put a brand new project into the one (year) and then amend that plan."
The stretch of road at issue is in Blakely township, in sections 15, 16, 17 and 18, to the west of the Koch Nitrogen plant. One option would be paving a part of the road, providing better access to a development site.
Cities and counties focus on the first year of their road and bridge plans as projects scheduled to be done. Projects in the second through sixth years often remain on the list for several years, before moving to construction.
On another issue, the Gage County Board received bids Wednesday from three companies for the purchase of two new road graders, ranging from about $380,000 up to $540,000 for the purchase of two machines. The bids will be reviewed, with a decision planned in two weeks.