County engineer explains road use agreement with oil pipeline

By Gary Scott on December 16, 2015 at 7:11am

Morgan County Commissioners passed a road usage agreement for an incoming oil pipeline on Monday.

The agreement involves the Morgan County highway system and the Dakota Access Pipeline, which will run oil from North Dakota to a junction in Patoka, Illinois, before running further south.

“This is an agreement that basically puts us into a contractual agreement on any road damages that would occur during the process of their construction of the pipeline, and gives the county kind of a hold or a financial commitment from the contractors to make sure that the county’s not left without at the end of the project,” says Morgan County Highway Department Engineer Matt Coultas.

“As far as the county highway system. I believe in Morgan County we have somewhere around 30 miles worth of county highways that will be affected. We’ll also have a number of road district roads, and it varies throughout each road district.”

There are a total of five road districts impacted. The agreement does not affect U.S. Route 67 or Interstate 72.

The agreement also includes a $12,500 administration fee that gives the highway department the ability to pay for a supervisor to make sure Dakota Access is using the roads they’re supposed to use.

Coultas told county commissioners about 100 miles of pipe materials have already been delivered to a yard in Riggston. He said project officials hope to start in the springtime and are hoping to get all agreements done by the end of the year.

The most recent national news involving the Dakota Access Pipeline came late last month from South Dakota, where regulators approved a construction permit. A company spokesperson told the Associated Press approval is still needed from North Dakota, Iowa and Illinois regulators.