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County approved for road grant
$350,000 to cover federal signage, striping
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Dawson County is close to securing $350,000 in grant funding to improve signs and striping along 116 miles of local roads.

The county commission is expected to approve the plan Thursday, clearing the way to submit it to the state Department of Transportation and begin the process of applying for environmental, utility and right-of-way certifications.

In an Oct. 11 presentation to the commission, county engineer Corey Gutherie said he anticipates the certification process to take two to six months. After that, the project could be put out to public bid.

In 2011, Dawson County Public Works took an inventory of local roads and developed a plan to address new federal sign and striping mandates.

The state DOT has at the district level given preliminary approval to the project list, which includes 116 miles of roads based on traffic volumes, road widths and striping needs.

"The funds are earmarked for Dawson County with no match required by the county," Gutherie said. "We got funding for everything we asked for, which is a surprise."

The funding is made available through the state DOT's off system safety improvement program. According to Gutherie, the program was designed with older motorists in mind.

"We have an aging driving population ... that basically doubled in the United States since 1990 to 2006," Gutherie said. "The rate of fatalities is twice for motorists driving at nighttime as for those driving during the daytime.

"The Federal Highway Administration identified those two as problems and wants to come up with a program to address it, which includes improved signage, improved striping and reflectivity."

According to Gutherie, the percentage of Dawson County residents 65 and older is 15.1, compared to 11 percent across the rest of the state.