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Langford residents worried about young drivers’ safety on damaged road

Britton Journal [1]

A delegation of 19 Langford Area residents appeared at the June 11 meeting of the Marshall County Commission because of concerns about the safety of the road that goes west out of Langford to Claremont.

County Road 16W suffered considerable damage in 2010 when the state hauled truckloads of rock over the asphalt road to shore up roads in the Claremont area due to severe flooding. As a result, members of the delegation said that most of the road is now gravel with potholes and washboard-like areas that make driving hazardous.

“We have been here before and haven’t gotten anything done,” said Langford Area school bus driver Mike Nelson. “We’re kind of disgusted.”

The delegation asked the commission to put a higher priority on fixing the road, especially in light of the fact that it is used by numbers of young, inexperienced drivers who drive to school.

“What scares us the most is that the road is a school route,” said Jenn Gustafson. “It’s very dangerous for those kids.”

Members of the delegation said that six young drivers had gone into the ditch on that road in recent months. They also said the washboard-like areas can bounce a car into the other driving lane.

“We realize there are a lot of roads in tough shape,” added Gustafson. “But we’re asking that this road be given a higher priority before something horrible happens.”

The road had been scheduled to receive a new two-inch asphalt surface in the county’s five-year plan, but Commissioner Myles DeVine said that everything is a couple of years behind due to weather conditions of the past several years. Members of the delegation were concerned that with opt-out money coming in for just two more years that the project might not get funded if it wasn’t given higher priority.

“The children driving that road are young and inexperienced,” added delegation member Monica Gibbs. “If you make fixing this road a higher priority, I think it would save someone’s life.”

In response to the Langford area delegation, the commission plans to remove gravel that had spread out on the asphalt surface and to firm up three major bad areas on the road. Plans are to put an asphalt replacement surface on those bad areas, hopefully sometime in July.

Much of the Dakotafire region had serious problems with damaged roads after the wet springs of 2010 and 2011. County officials said that damage would take more than one year to fix. Learn more in this story from November 2012 [2].

The next meeting of the Marshall County Commission will be Tuesday, June 25.