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Beatrice company to help Lancaster County replenish its rock supplies needed for ailing gravel roads

Beatrice company to help Lancaster County replenish its rock supplies needed for ailing gravel roads

Frost boil

Described as frost boils, the mud below the gravel and limestone on the top of a county road liquefies like it's been whipped in a blender and drags vehicles down when they drive over it.

A Beatrice construction company on Thursday will begin hauling rock needed to replenish Lancaster County's supply piles and help stabilize gravel roads damaged by the storms in March. 

At a special meeting Wednesday afternoon, the Lancaster County Board of Commissioners awarded R.L. Tiemann Construction a $269,200 contract to deliver 30,000 tons of rock previously purchased from a quarry in Pawnee City. 

In March, storms undermined the rock base of miles of gravel roads, county road maintenance superintendent Ron Bohaty said. 

Driving on some of these roads was like driving on a water bed, he said.

County crews depleted their rock supplies in the days and weeks after the March storm trying to stabilize roads beset by what are known as frost boils, County Engineer Pam Dingman said.

Meanwhile, work rebuilding roads across the state after the March storms quickly wiped out Nebraska's rock supply, and when Lancaster County sought bids for rock and delivery in April, no one responded, Dingman said. 

County engineering staff called quarries throughout the area and ultimately bought out the rock supply of the quarry in Pawnee City, for $354,000. 

Demand is clearly driving up prices. Between the rock purchase and the cost to deliver it, the county's getting about 40% less than what it normally would for the same price, Bohaty said. 

The rock is desperately needed so engineering crews have enough materials to reopen roads, Dingman said.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.


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