How many governments does it take to pave a gravel road? Well, in the case of Depot Street, which runs north and south along the eastern edge of Maryville, the answer is three: Nodaway County, City Hall and Polk Township.
South Depot consists of a mile or so of battered pavement and gravel stretching from East First Street to East South Avenue.
A little more than half of the thoroughfare lies inside the city limits and is, perhaps, the roughest street in town. Past the New Nodaway Humane Society shelter the road is all gravel and under the control of Polk Township.
Earlier this year on the recommendation of City Manager Greg McDanel, the City Council signed off on repaving Depot between Main Street and East Halsey. Part of the decision was dictated by the poor condition of the roadway, and part had to do with the project already having been engineered in an unsuccessful attempt to secure a state grant.
Current plans call for a complete rebuild of the street with a concrete surface. But the project raised the question of what to do with the remaining gravel portion between Halsey and South Avenue, including several hundred yards or so maintained by the township.
As it happens, Polk has the funds on hand to improve Depot south from the animal shelter thanks to a "Pave Me For Pennies" property tax levy collected between 2004 and 2008 and used to fund a number of street improvements including Icon Road, Wilson Road, Hester, Jade and a small portion of 16th Street.
So, this summer, a township crew began moving earth. Combined with the city initiative, the effort would create a north-south corridor on the east side of town similar to that provided by Icon Road to the west.
The problem, which the township discovered after moving several tons of dirt, is a handful of pipelines converging around a dry creek bed that flows underneath the road through a large metal drainage tube. In Nodaway County, tube crossing and bridges are the province of the County Commission.
The tangle of infrastructure includes a 12-inch water main on the west side of the road owned by the city and a municipal sewer line on the east side. There's also a gas line and a telephone line in the immediate area.
All of this stuff is going to have to be shifted around in order to accommodate road construction, which will require the installation of a new tube or short-span bridge. And with three governmental entities involved, no one is sure yet who is supposed to do what, and, more importantly, who is going to pay for it.
The city of Maryville is responsible for the water and sewer line, but aligning them with the new creek crossing, according to Public Works Director C.E. Goodall, will be an "unbudgeted expense" along a township road.
Page 2 of 2 - As for the County Commission, it's unsure about whether to replace the drainage tube with a single large tube, two or three smaller tubes or a short-span bridge.
For its part, the township can't proceed without some decisions being made about what pipes to move where.
All three entities, however, see the problems and solvable and are working together to move the Depot Street project forward. Goodall was to meet with McDanel today to determine what should be done about the sewer and water lines and when. As for the township, Polk officials have said they will contribute the necessary dirt work.
A third decision — what to do with the crossing — rests with the County Commission. A new tube would be less expensive, but a bridge will last longer. On the other hand, a bridge might also create an exposed sewer pipe over the creek that could freeze and break during the winter.
One final consideration is how, or if, to pave Depot on city property between Halsey and the animal shelter. Goodall said the middle stretch would likely be overlaid with asphalt at some point in order to connect the concrete portions to be constructed by Polk Township and the city of Maryville.