Government

Linn County receives award for paving efforts

'You invest in yourself when you invest in roads'

roadwork barrels
roadwork barrels

CEDAR RAPIDS — It may not be the most glamorous award to some, but Linn County Engineer Steve Gannon said recent recognition of the county’s paving efforts speaks the a commitment to something most residents need — safe and quality roads.

Earlier this month, the Linn County Secondary Road Department was recognized at the Iowa Concrete Paving Association’s annual luncheon for becoming just the fourth county in Iowa to complete 200 miles of slipformed concrete paving.

Gannon said the county’s dedication to road funding, which includes road use tax funds and a portion of a voter-approved local-option sales tax, are key to Linn County’s success.

It took Linn County decades to reach the 100-mile benchmark for slipform paving — which was achieved in 2012. The next 100 miles were paved in about five years.

“Going from 100 to 200 miles usually takes a long time. Typically, counties aren’t funded to try to do a lot of that ... Going from 2012 to 2017 and getting another 100 miles, that’s something no other county has been able to do,” Gannon said. “Essentially you invest in yourself when you invest in roads, because everybody is using them.”

Slipfrom concrete paving — a process developed decades ago here in Iowa — uses a machine called a slipform paver to lay concrete without the need for forms on the side of the road.

But while Linn has become the fourth county in the state to reach the 200-mile mark for such paving, Gannon said the county is leading the state in another ongoing paving effort — resurfacing existing roads with concrete overlay projects.

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Linn County also received the 2011 National Roadway Safety Award for being the first U.S. county to use a concrete safety edge on roads to reduce risk for vehicles re-entering the road.

Gannon said the county has completed about 190 overlay projects and should reach 200 in the near future.

Linn County typically spends around $9 million on all road construction projects. The department receives $3 million annually in LOST funds.

l Comments: (319) 339-3175; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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