Wednesday, October 06, 2010

County wants out of cattle guard business

A state highway official said it appears Eddy County has washed its hands of maintaining cattle guards, although it receives $500,000 from the state for cattle guard maintenance and other road work. But county leaders say it's not the county's responsibility to maintain them. The majority of cattle guards are on state roads and therefore they are not the county's responsibility. Ralph Meeks, NMDOT assistant district engineer for District Two, covering Eddy, Chaves and Lea counties, told the Eddy County Commission that for several years his agency and the county's road department worked together to address cattle guard issues, but in recent years the county has adopted a "hands off cattle guard position." County Manager Allen Sartin said that of the 83 known cattle guards in Eddy County, 72 were installed by the state and are the state's responsibility. The issue of fencing and related cattle guards on state roads has long been a source of consternation for the county. The county maintains that it is not responsible for repairing fences on state rights of way and cattle guards, especially in areas where oil field traffic is heavy and causes damages to cattle guards and fences. County Road Superintendent Frank Weldon told the commission that he has had several conversations with Meeks about cattle guards. He said from the road department's perspective, cattle guards installed by the state are an integral part of a fence, and the county doesn't work on fences...more

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