WARREN COUNTY, Iowa -- Residents of Warren County say they are fed up with road conditions around the county.
The county engineer blames the weather and a lack of money for the large potholes and muddy conditions.
“Where Warren County meets Polk County, things are really bad. The conditions are difficult to walk through, let alone drive through,” Katie Egan said of 140th Avenue.
Cole Wilson says he slows down to about 10 mph in order to drive on the roads with bad potholes.
“Your car just gets disgusting. You can’t keep it clean. Your kids’ shoes are full of mud from walking. It’s not very fun,” Jolynn Riedesel said.
Riedesel, a mother of two, says her main concern is safety.
“When we’re driving out here and you’re coming up a hill, you’re essentially in the middle of the road because both sides are so swampy. You’re coming up blind on someone coming down the hill. It’s a head-on collision waiting to happen.”
Riedesel lives in Carlisle and said she's been hounding the county engineer's office about the treacherous conditions of the roads, seeking answers and results but to no avail.
“They’ll say that we had a hard winter and it’s been wet, but this didn’t happen overnight. This has been degrading yearly,” she said.
David Carroll says since county becoming engineer and having input into the fiscal year 2016 budget and beyond, the department has significantly improved its maintenance operations. He also said money is an issue.
“We have had to cut local projects except our highest-priority ones, such as structures damaged by the June and July flooding,” he said. “There simply is not enough money to do both increased maintenance and al the new construction needed simultaneously.”
Meanwhile, in a little over a week, Warren County residents will have a chance to vote to establish a local option sales tax. Some of those funds could be used to improve roads.
“I have a really hard time voting 'yes' for that. I really do when I’m not seeing things taken care of in our community,” Riedesel said.
Carroll says the county hasn't been able to place its heavy machinery on the roads without tearing up more miles of roadway. Right now, the main focus is on hauling and stockpiling rock with every truck available for use when the weather consistently either dries or freezes up, he says.
Carroll provided Channel 13 with an approximate breakdown of total dollars spent and budgeted to provide gravel in the county: Warren County Road Condition Statement 021916