Leavenworth County commissioners voted Monday to close a section of Gilman Road east of Lansing.

Leavenworth County commissioners voted Monday to close a section of Gilman Road east of Lansing.

Leavenworth County Public Works Director Mike Spickelmier said the stretch of Gilman Road between 127th Street and Wolcott Road is a dirt road used to provide field access to property owners.

"It's existed probably close to 100 years," he said.

He discussed the roadway during a public hearing on the issue.

Spickelmier said that section of Gilman is not an open, through street and had been classified as a minimum maintenance field road.

He said residents have complained about problems associated with people using the roadway such as illegal dumping and other nuisances.

In 2010, officials looked at vacating the roadway. But, this idea was abandoned because AT&T has utilities in an easement, and as the city of Lansing grows, it may someday need the roadway.

Spickelmier said commissioners still have the option of officially closing the road.

"It would allow the residents to barricade the roadway," he said.

He said property owners could barricade the roadway with a fence as long as AT&T workers have the ability to open the gate to access utilities.

"Once it's closed we will no longer do any maintenance out there," Spickelmier said.

Spickelmier said his department had received correspondence in favor of closing the roadway from two of the property owners along that stretch of Gilman. He said the Public Works Department has not heard from a third property owner.

Diane Rudnicki, who owns property along the south side of the affected roadway, spoke in favor of closing the street.

She complained that teenagers drive back and forth on the roadway, and sometimes vehicles become stuck. She said drivers rev their engines when their trucks get stuck.

"The trash has been a terrible thing, too," she said.

She said someone threw old mattresses onto her property.

Rudnicki said the county posted a "no trash" sign but someone yanked it out of place. It later was replaced.

Commissioner Dennis Bixby said he wants "it abundantly clear there is no road anymore."

Spickelmier said the county will take down streets signs and can put a new sign indicating it is not a road for public use.

"It looks like a driveway," he said.

Commissioner Clyde Graeber said just because a sign is posted doesn't mean people will stop driving the road.

Bixby asked Rudnicki if she would place a gate across the road.

"I don't know how I would even do that," she said.

Spickelmier said there have been other situations in the county in which property owners have put up gates on closed roadways.

He said every time the county puts up something, there's an expectation the Public Works Department will maintain it.

If the Public Works Department were to barricade the road, Spickelmier said he wouldn't use a gate. He'd use concrete barricades.

"We've never put in gates like this before, but we will do what we're told," he said.

Bixby said he sees old Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office vehicles parked at the county shop. He suggested one of these vehicles could be parked across the road. The car can be moved when someone from AT&T needs to access the road.

Graeber said the county could be sued if someone crashes into the vehicle.

County Administrator Pat Hurley said this doesn't mean the county would lose the lawsuit.

"I would suggest we look into how we permanently close it," Hurley said.

He said the reported nuisances have been an ongoing problem.

"It isn't enough to just declare it closed," he said.

Hurley said he will meet with Public Works officials to discuss the issue.

Bixby asked Rudnicki if she can maintain a gate if the county puts it in place.

"I think I can do that," she said.

Commissioners proceeded with a vote to pass an order to close the roadway. Graeber initially questioned why they were proceeding with a vote when they had not resolved the gate issue.

Spickelmier said commissioners could vote Monday on the order and decide later the type of barricade they want installed.

The order to close that section of Gilman Road was unanimously approved.