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Council approves road repair expenditure

Article Date: 
7 August, 2014 - 13:25

Potholes, patchwork and standing water, oh my!!
The Morgan County Council unanimously approved up to $400,000 in road repairs Tuesday, getting a solid start on a much-needed road repair and maintenance program in the county.
As many as 11 projects totaling 4.1 miles of county roads are on the list, ranked in order by the county facilities director and contracted engineer.
“The council had no input on the areas that are being worked on.  It is not a political thing,” said Morgan County Councilman Robert Kilmer.  “It is strictly based on a professional analysis of what needs to be fixed first.”
Projects include portions of Richville Lane, Old Highway Road, and Morgan Valley Drive.  Areas of particular concern include near Hidden Hollow, near Deep Creek, six sections along North Morgan Valley Drive, near the Milton Park, near Silverleaf Drive, in Croydon.
Although only 11 made the list this year, Mike Waite, county facilities director, said he is aware of many, many more areas of road that deserve the attention of county road crews.
“There are many more sections of roadway that need to be taken care of throughout the county,” Waite said.  “That is why the county has a road maintenance program.  In the years to come, we need to keep this moving forward so we can take care of our roads.”
“There are a considerable number of areas in really bad shape,” Kilmer said.  “We didn’t address them all, just the worst ones.”
Waite said he would like to see more county roads raised 2 percent in the middle so that water runs off them toward the shoulders.  Much of the current deterioration of county roads is due to improper water drainage, he said.
“We just need to try to hold our roads together,” Waite said.
The county will put the projects out to bid immediately and could hire several contractors depending on the bids that come in.  However, the hired contractors would be attempting to beat the clock as asphalt needs to be laid before fall hits. If contractors are not able to lay asphalt by the end of August, County Engineer Mark Miller said in his experience, contractors will honor the original bid and instead do the work the next year.
Kilmer said if bids come in around the engineer’s estimates, the county will be getting a good deal on repairing 4. 1 miles of road for $400,000.   In contrast, the federal project that repaired 3.3 miles cost $1.3 million.
“By doing these types of projects, we spread our dollar out farther,” Kilmer said.  “We need to start getting our roads back into condition.”
Some $284,000 will come from the county road fund, and the other $116,000 will come out of the county general fund.  The Class B road fund still has a balance containing money the county will use as its portion of a match to supplement grant money for other road projects.
Previous estimates put the county’s road needs at $900,000 a year for the next 10 years in order to get roads to the needed level.  Kilmer said the proposed plan “makes a big dent” with just half that money.
Councilwoman Tina Kelley advised the council to consider the need for a new snowplow.  Waite said the county can go another year or two before purchasing a new plow.