Level B Road Classifications
Liability issues in the late 1970s and early 1980 led to the support for, and the passage of, a new state law in 1981, which allowed counties to classify their road system into two distinct groups, relating to maintenance standards.
Specifically, those two groups were the existing group that received normal maintenance and a subset of that group, normally the dirt or other roads without surfacing , that could be classified as Class B Roads, that received a lesser level of maintenance.
Along with the passage of that law, (Section 309.57), came the administrative details on the adoption procedures that could be used by counties to establish such a system.
Once the individual counties had adopted this new system, whether by ordinance or resolution, they were bound to the procedures, and reduced maintenance standards it dictated.
The advantage was that, if these procedures were followed, the county was, and still is, immune from liability on these roads.
Story County chose to take the wait and see approach as the system evolved. Then preparation in 1988 and adoption of Ordinance #23 (PDF), establishing the Class B system in Story County, in February of 1990, but no roads were ever added to the program.
Now the county is attempting to revive the process, first by providing education about the ordinance, and then following up with hearings, as required by the ordinance, to place all of Story County's existing dirt roads on the system that was created in 1990.
The county has continued the reduced levels of maintenance on our dirt roads all along, so no changes from present maintenance standards ore planned. Any reduction below standards listed in Ordinance # 23 would require revision of the ordinance, including multiple public hearings.
However, especially as funds dwindle and with Story County struggling to continue to perform normal maintenance, the county needs the protection from liability now, perhaps more than ever.
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