Lyon County to seek grant for County 6/11 safety improvements

MARSHALL — It’s a dangerous intersection, Lyon County residents told county commissioners. The intersection of Lyon County Road 6 and Lyon County Road 11 has been the scene of five crashes in the past two years alone.

The county does have a plan to help improve safety at the intersection, however, and the Lyon County Board got to hear some of the details at their Tuesday meeting. Lyon County Engineer Aaron VanMoer presented the plan as part of an application for state grant funding.

In August, commissioners had directed VanMoer to apply for the funding, after a group of county residents asked for extra safety measures at the intersection.

The County 6/11 intersection currently has a two-way stop on County Road 11. VanMoer said part of the problem with safety at the County 6/11 intersection is a small hill on County Road 11 north of the intersection. The rise makes it harder for southbound traffic to see the approaching intersection. Corn fields near the intersection also limit visibility for traffic on County Road 6, he said.

VanMoer said his plan for improvements included re-grading about 700 feet of County Road 11 to get rid of the hill and make the intersection easier to see. The road would be lowered about three feet. The improvements would also include construction of right turn lanes on County Road 6, and installing lights at the intersection.

“We’re able to do this at a relatively low cost,” VanMoer said. Estimated costs for the safety improvements were about $260,000.

In an application for Local Road Improvement Program grant funding, VanMoer requested $234,795 in funding for the project, with a local match of $26,089 — 10 percent of the total estimated project cost. That match could come from county road funds, reserves, or the county’s wheelage tax, VanMoer said.

Commissioner Charlie Sanow moved to approve the grant application, with the local funding match coming from wheelage tax funds. The motion passed.

• At Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners also acted on a different LRIP grant application, this one from the city of Ghent. Ghent is seeking grant funding to help with a $1.48 million project to reconstruct McQuestion Street and improve storm and sanitary sewer lines under the street.

Cities that have populations less than 5,000 need to have a county sponsor to apply for LRIP funds, VanMoer said. Lyon County commissioners were being asked to consider a resolution allowing the county to be a sponsor and fiscal agent for the Ghent street reconstruction.

“If they do become a recipient of the program, I will put together an agreement between the county and the city,” VanMoer said.

Reconstruction of McQuestion Street would allow it to become a truck route again, and divert slower farm and commercial traffic from Highway 68 in Ghent, VanMoer said.

Commissioners said they had some questions about Ghent’s grant application. The application was requesting $750,000 in grant money, with a local match of about $734,000. Commissioners said it didn’t seem clear whether Lyon County would be responsible for funding any of the local match.

After discussion, however, commissioners voted in favor of becoming Ghent’s fiscal agent for the project. They also directed county staff to work with the city of Ghent to clarify questions about the matching funds.