HIGHWAY DEPARTMENT Tim G. Schulte, P.E. Richland County Engineer
Department Mission Statement • Transportation is a major county service responsibility and the Highway Department is one of the most visible County Departments. Nearly every citizen utilizes the transportation network in one way or another on a daily basis. • The primary function of the County Highway Department is to provide a safe and reliable highway system for the traveling public by maintaining and constructing roadways and bridges within the county. • These roadways and bridges create a vital link from farms to market, homes to work, school and shopping, routes for mail and emergency services, and accesses to recreational opportunities.
Starting on a Solid Foundation Counties have had a significant responsibility for the construction and maintenance of North Dakota’s transportation system since it became a territory in the 1800’s. The first record of travel in North Dakota, by other than Native Americans, was in the early 1700’s. By 1823, traders were using oxcarts, on established trails, in the Red River Valley, mostly for transporting furs.
Today, North Dakota County’s modern road networks offers a high level of mobility to serve the county’s varied industries --- energy, agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, retail, commerce and others --- and to help individuals and families get to work, school, recreation and shopping.
Building on a Strong Foundation The responsibilities of the Highway Department include:
County Highway Maintenance • Managing and directing maintenance of the county highway system, including roadway surfaces, drainage, bridges, mowing, brush and weed control, utility permits, trucking permits, signing, and pavement striping.
Department Budgeting • Prepare an annual construction, operations and administration budget for approval by the Board of County Commissioners. • Typical funding sources for the budget are the county property tax levy, federal and state highway users tax, local government aids and special grants. • County Highway Fiscal Accounting • Most Highway departments maintain a computer-based cost accounting system identifying operating, maintenance and construction costs. • Every Highway Department is required to prepare an annual report on revenues and expenditures related to the road and bridge fund.
Highway Planning and Construction Programming • The department is responsible for developing long- and short-term programs for planning, design and construction of highway projects and updating those programs annually.
Highway Design • The department is responsible for managing the design process for county highway construction projects, including preliminary surveys, location studies and development of detailed plans and specifications. • Engineering standards, environmental concerns, economics, right-of-way acquisition and public input play important roles in the design process. • Construction Contract Administration • The administration of construction contracts, including bidding, quality control, measurement of material quantities and documentation is the responsibility of the department.
Efficient Management of Department Resources • The Highway Department is tasked with the efficient use of the taxpayers dollar. • We use computer based tools such as Pavement Management Systems, to generate list of potential projects optimizing the funds available. • Cost accounting software to track road and bridge maintenance costs. • Equipment Replacement plans to help schedule replacement and determine when a certain piece of equipment should be rented, leased or purchased.
What’s big and orange and sleeps three does not apply in Richland County! Our pickups are every color but orange.