KEARNEY, Neb. — The wet spring and summer have taken a costly toll on Buffalo County’s roads, as has the heavy traffic, County Road Superintendent John Maul said.

“We were in the $800,000 range from the March flooding, and in July it was $144,000 in damage,” Maul said.

As a result, Maul wants to add three road graders to the county’s fleet of 20 in the 2019-20 budget. In addition, the gravel budget will grow to $1 million in 2019-20. The county had budgeted $500,000 for gravel in 2018-19, but spent twice that much recovering from the March and July floods.

Buffalo County has 1,500 miles of roads, of which 1,300 miles are gravel roads that require regular attention, Maul told the County Board during its meeting Tuesday. Repeated rainfall has increased the difficulty of keeping roads in drivable condition, and so have other factors, including a gravel shortage.

The county has four gravel contractors, Maul said, but when other area counties call on the contractors to deliver gravel, it can be challenging.

“When we need gravel, we need it all at once,” Maul said of the high demand across the region.

County Board member Ivan Klein of Gibbon said that as new rural subdivisions sprout up, more vehicles will travel county roads, and that means additional maintenance.

Maul agreed. “I’d like to see no more subdivisions.”

Rural subdivisions are supposed to organize homeowners associations to care for their roads, he said, but many subdivisions aren’t organized so the residents expect the county to provide minimum maintenance, adding to the county’s costs.

Maul said each of the 20 road grader drivers employed by Buffalo County is responsible for maintaining 100 miles of road, a task that takes about 2½ weeks.

The amount of work will eventually exceed what the Road Department is able to deliver, he said.