Kansas township roads cause for concern

PRETTY PRAIRIE, Kan. (KSNW) – Residents who live in a township near Pretty Prairie said some of their roads are potentially dangerous. KSN reached out to township officials to find out what they are doing to fix the issue.

“Unless you have four-wheel drive, you can’t make it through here,” said Charles Breitenbach.

Charles Breitenbach has lived in the Ninnescah Township near Cheney Lake for more than 50 years. He said he prides himself on the upkeep of his land and the nearby roads.

“I try to keep it as nice and presentable, you know,” Breitenbach said.

Breitenbach said keeping the roads around his family home in good condition has not been an easy task.

“Our road issue is just getting worse and worse,” he said.

On Friday, KSN drove out to the Ninnescah Township to look at the roads. KSN found some of the roads were easy to drive on while others had deep ruts and pools of water. Crews went out to survey the roads again on Monday after the weekend’s rain storm. A majority of the township roads were like expected, muddy, and difficult to drive on.

“They are non passable,” Breitenbach said. “We have had school buses stuck out here.”

Breitenbach, like all township residents, pays taxes to the Ninnescah Township for the maintenance of the roads. According to Reno County, the township’s road budget for 2016 was about $65,000. KSN asked township officials why some of the roads look the way they do.

“The deal is to maintain a way out of people’s houses. We cannot keep people form going up and down the roads when they are muddy. When we have numerous rain, roads go to pieces,” said Representative and Ninnescah Township Trustee Joe Seiwert.

According to county records, Joe Seiwert is the Ninnescah Township trustee. While Seiwert, said he never accepted the position he said he and his board are doing what they can to maintain the roads by hauling sand and grading them.

Seiwert said a combination of recent weather and people driving 4-wheelers are to blame for the excess water and ruts on the roads.

“The problem is we can have a real good road and five or six 4-wheelers come down in a weekend and around Cheney Lake and they go party down there and drive up and down the ditches,” Seiwert said.

Breitenbach and his neighbors said it’s not enough.

“Very aggravating,” he said.

KSN also spoke with the Reno County Public Works Director about the conditions of the roads in the Ninnescah Township. The director said it’s common for township roads to not be in the best shape. He said a lot of townships struggle with maintaining the roads because of the natural soil, weather and cost of infrastructure.

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