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Tuesday, Sep. 30, 2014

County officials look at roads, bridges

Thursday, April 6, 2006

(Photo)
Scott County commissioners Jamie Burger and Martin Priggel, pictured from left, are briefed by Harlan Duncan, county supervisor.
BENTON -- Scott County's new hot mix asphalt paving machine will enable the county to start getting ahead on road maintenance.

Scott County commissioners and Harlan Duncan, road and bridge department supervisor, conducted their annual road and bridge inspection Wednesday, starting at the north end of the county and working their way south.

The inspection, which will help officials plan for the coming blacktopping season, is just the first look this year for officials.

"We'll be looking some more as spring moves on," said Presiding Commissioner Martin Priggel.

While the county's roads are in decent shape, "we always wish we had more money to do more work with," Priggel said.

Commissioners are in hopes that the hot mix paving machine will help what money the county does have for roads go further.

Priggel said county road and bridge crews will lay a good hot mix cap over some of the chip-and-seal blacktop sections around the county that were originally laid in front of homes on gravel roads as dust control measures.

While chip-and-seal surfaces don't hold up in some places as well as more-

expensive blacktopping methods, "at least they have something in front of their house," Priggel said.

Commissioner Jamie Burger said in many places the road base is good enough that "these things will last a good long time" - especially if a hot mix cap is put on top.

"I think it was a good move for us to get that hot mix paver," Burger said. "The hot mix overlays hold up a lot better than our cold mix overlays."

Commissioners are in hopes that the hot mix asphalt will last long enough that they are able to not only put overlays over existing chip-and-seal surfaces, but also start extending the paved sections on roads.

Bridges and other crossings were also inspected including a pipe recently put in under County Road 459 about a mile south of Highway Z where a small lateral drains into the Richland Drainage District ditch known to some locals as "Jolly Ditch."

"It was washed out something terrible," said Floyd Pobst, who lives just couple hundred feet south of the new pipe. "That whole bottom was rotted out."

The county has been using longer pipes to get the openings farther from ditch banks. "I think it has made a difference," Burger said. He said the county has also used steel pipes recently which last much longer than corrugated culverts. "They'll be here long after we're gone," Burger said.

Erosion control will be the first step for some road projects.

"We have a lot of places where the roads are sloughing off," Burger said. "Our main thing is to retain the roads we have."

He said it is essential to make sure road shoulders are going to hold up before road and bridge crews put asphalt overlays down.

Commissioners, Duncan and members of the county road and bridge department are attending a road maintenance training seminar by state officials today and Friday.

"We're sending eight of our employees," Burger said.

He said this was a great opportunity for county employees to get training as the session is both inexpensive and close to the county.