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The Linn County Secondary Road Department was honored on February 8 at the Iowa Concrete Paving Association’s Annual Luncheon for becoming the fourth county in the state to achieve 200 miles of slipformed concrete pavement. Linn County Engineer, Steve Gannon, and Linn County Assistant Engineer, Brad Ketels, were on hand to accept the award.
During the presentation, the ICPA provided a brief history of Linn County’s use of concrete for paving. Linn County Engineer, Ralph W. Gearhart, was the first Linn County Engineer and constructed the only seedling mile of the Lincoln Highway built in Iowa in 1918 and 1919. Linn County received the 100 mile award in 2012 for paving done between 1966 and 2012. Between 2012 and 2017, Linn County paved another 100 miles of concrete overlay along the major routes in the secondary road system. The Linn County Engineers during the paving years were Bill Harrington (1960-1979), Jerry Nelson (1979-1998), and Steve Gannon (1998-present).
Concrete paving is selected because of cost and longevity. Concrete paving is expected to provide a 50 to 80 year service life with proper maintenance. The concrete overlaying of much of the Farm to Market System in Linn County provides efficient movement of goods and services throughout the county.
The newer overlays also include a safety edge, which allows vehicles to re-enter the roadway from the shoulder without a drop off that may cause loss of control. Many of the concrete overlays are providing a 30’ paved width instead of a standard 24’ width for a two lane road. These safety features along with rumble striping and durable pavement markings used with these projects provide a safer road system.
At the ICPA award banquet, Linn County Engineer, Steve Gannon, thanked the citizens of Linn County for providing the funding to accomplish this goal, the Road Department employees involved in design, inspection and construction, and the contractors that built these projects.
The Linn County Secondary Road Department has been investing a portion of the local option sales tax and the “dime” fuel tax increase to provide a network of quality paved roads.