CHARLESTON - Mississippi County's blacktop overlays this year may be spread out across the county in small stretches.
Mississippi County commissioners discussed this year's blacktopping season during their regular meeting Thursday.
County Line Road is among the roads that need a new cold mix asphalt cap. "We're not going to have the money to do all that road," Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said. He estimated the county may lay around a half-mile or even just four tenths of a mile of blacktop there.
Homer Oliver, commissioner, said the Port Authority road also needs work. "We didn't do anything to it last year," he said. Oliver said the road surface has "alligatored." The cracks fill with water which freezes in cold weather. "Next thing you know, you've got a hole," he said.
Commissioners also discussed roads that crumbled because they were too dry. Commissioner Martin Lucas said the roads appeared as if they had "plenty of rock, not enough oil." Blumenberg said he thinks there was just too much gravel.
The county has $60,000 budgeted for cold mix asphalt, according to Blumenberg. "We need to do about five miles," he said. There is also $20,000 budgeted for sealing oil.
"We could do a lot of serious patching," Oliver suggested. He recommended laying down large square patches of about 20 by 20 feet.
Commissioners agreed there could be five miles worth of blacktop around the county just in short sections. "Two hundred feet here, 200 feet there," Blumenberg said. "You're going to have a lot of short stretches."
Moving on to discuss unpaved roads, Blumenberg said gravel roads near Charleston are doing well but gravel is thin on roads in the south end of the county and near Anniston and Wyatt.
Commissioners agreed the ground there soaks up clay-type gravels. "Snowstone's the only answer," Oliver said. Snowstone is a white, silicon waste rock gravel.
"We'd be hurting if we didn't have snowstone," Blumenberg agreed.
Commissioners noted they have managed to make good gravel roads out of old sand roads using snowstone.
In other county business Thursday:
* Commissioners will look at purchasing a new prisoner transportation van while keeping the one they have now as a backup.
The transmission on the county's present prisoner transportation van broke down in St. Louis while dropping off 17 Immigration and Naturalization Service prisoners there, according to commissioners.
Initial estimates on the repairs are about $5,500 to $6,000.
With about 280,000 miles on the vehicle, commissioners agreed costly breakdowns will occur more often with regular use.
"We need to check on buying one," Blumenberg said. He suggested getting another van and keeping the old one as a backup since the county won't get much money trading in the old one.
Oliver said a second prisoner transportation van could also prove useful if the county was asked to pick up INS prisoners from two different locations as the county is now getting INS prisoners from southern Illinois in addition to St. Louis.
The jail has 54 INS prisoners as of Thursday, according to commissioners.
* Commissioners are still amazed by the low price on fuel bids submitted by Delta Growers Association.
A bid of $1.739 per gallon was accepted by commissioners for April. "And that's tax included," Blumenberg said.
* Commissioners approved the annual service agreement with the Mississippi County Rescue Squad.
Under the agreement, the squad receives county funding and provides extrication and emergency services for the county.
* Between seven and 10 trees will be removed from the county-maintained Oak Grove Cemetery near Charleston depending on the price per tree, according to Blumenberg.
* The county's long-reach excavator is working on Maple Slough removing high spots in the drainage ditch, according to commissioners.