CASS COUNTY – The Cass County Board of Supervisors didn’t take any action Tuesday on a plan to replace a bridge with a box culvert and vacate part of 570th Street in order to get more information on how the change would affect land values from engineering sources, and allow those opposed to visit with real estate representatives.

About six years ago, state officials did a study on I-80 from Nebraska to Illinois on the state of bridges and use of roads. The study showed an average 15 vehicles a day used the road, and determined this bridge needed to be fixed or replaced. Last year, state officials also created an incentive program in which counties can receive funding if a bridge is replaced with a box culvert. IDOT Representative Scott Suhr said replacing or fixing a bridge is costly, so DOT officials wanted to give Cass County the option to participate in the program.

Cass County could receive up to $1.5 million.

The board discussed the issue at length last week during a public hearing on the issue, and decided not to make any decisions until they could determine whether vacating the road would affect area landowners financially.

Board member Steve Green said he spoke with three local real estate representatives who said if there wasn’t a safety issue, then the change wouldn’t affect land values.

“One of (Smith Land Services Representatives said) unless it was a livestock operation, the ag land values would probably not be changed by road closure,” Green said.

However, Green said, he hadn’t heard anyone in his district in favor of the closure, which could affect his vote, but he said the county does need the bridge money.

Green said he contacted residents in the area, and at least one individual said he would consider legal action against each board member, and wanted them to postpone their decision until he could speak to the real estate representatives.

Cass County Engineer Trent Wolken said he could get another opinion on valuation from engineering sources sometime next week.

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