Brown County road project near beef plant scaled back

Farm Forum

Brown County has decided to scale back road work by Northern Beef Packers so it can better afford the project this year.

Duane Sutton, chairman of the Brown County Commission, said that the county’s plans include cutting 1,450 feet from a project on County Road 14W near Northern Beef Packers just southwest of town.

A third of a mile or so will be rebuilt with a concrete surface from County Road 10 east to the east side of the plant’s western or main entrance. The surface is now gravel. Plans once called for rebuilding the road to the plant’s eastern entrance. But Northern Beef Packers needs concrete to only the main entrance to accommodate truck traffic, Sutton said.

Eliminating the extra work on 14W will save the county about $300,000, Sutton said.

The county has two state grants totaling $450,000 to pay for the third of a mile. The estimated cost is $650,000, Sutton said, meaning the county will have to pay about $200,000 of the grand total.

A mile of County Road 14 from U.S. Highway 281 east to County Road 10 will also be improved with what’s called whitetopping. That involves putting a concrete surface on an asphalt road. The beef plant has pledged $950,000 for that work.

Jan Weismantel, Brown County highway superintendent, said that pending state approval, the bids will be let in early April so that the work can be finished yet this year. The county has to use all of the grant money before year’s end.

On March 5, Brown County commissioners decided to implement load limits on most county roads. The limits went into effect on March 11 and will affect trucks loaded with cattle to deliver to Northern Beef Packers. The recommended route to the plant is to go east on County Road 14 off of U.S. Highway 281.

With the 6-tons-per-axle load limits, trucks delivering cattle might have to haul lighter loads, Commissioner Mike Wiese said.