When will Kneehill County Council finally address this concern?

To the Editor;

I was under the impression that part of the responsibility of Kneehill County was to maintain roads and the safety of the residents. Earlier this year, we had a blockage in the ditch, at the top of the hill on the road past the farm. During this spring’s runoff, it resulted in the County gravel road having a water trench about a quarter of the way from the edge of the ditch. The trench was about six inches wide, eight inches deep, plus many smaller water runoffs running down the hill. It has been an ongoing problem for years, whenever there was a runoff from rain or snow. This year, after complaining, it was finally fixed.

The road is at least 100 years old. Resulting in a solid base and just needs gravel. It is also well travelled by many, considering all the traffic going past. I have been concerned for some time about the ditches that have now become fields. They are seeded right up to the gravel on the road. What about the 20 foot easement the County has for roads?

Where the field is higher than the road, there is continually debris, manure and dirt being blown on by wind or washed on by rain and across (rutting the road). Also, instead of using the approaches into the fields, they are driving onto the gravel whereever they wish, dragging field debris with them. During a rain it now feels like driving and sliding on a dirt road and not just for 20 feet, but much further from gravel to dirt or mud. On the other side of the road, the field is straight down from the gravel road, about 10 inches. That’s a 10 inch straight drop. When one meets a vehicle or road hog, you can pass on the (shoulder) top of the grass. Oh, right, no shoulder, just drop. Tractors going past are large enough that they usually run ditch to ditch. By driving on the edge of the gravel, they are causing the shear edge to weaken or give away completely. Winds also help dry, crumble and break away the edges. Rain also runs alongside, undermining the base, undercutting the road, softening the edge and possibly causing sinkholes. Vehicles travelling along the road with these conditions greatly help to weaken the edge, causing more instability and sheering off. These conditions can cause serious accidents.

Years ago, cables (like the telephone) were placed in the ditches. One reason for this, believing they would be safe from disturbances.

To repair and replace these ditches now will be very time consuming and expensive, probably at the expense of the County residents who follow the rules. To get the grass to grow again will take years and money. This will be needed to get the root system established again, to prevent further erosion along the ditches, and shore up the road.

I have talked to the County and others about my concerns. One person told me to shut-up and forget about it. If there is an accident, who’s responsible or liable?

Apparently the planting of ditch fields are more important than the welfare, health and safety or lives of others.

When will Kneehill County Council finally address this concern?

Sharon Schmidt

Kneehill County resident