County News_logoJason Peters, Supervisor of County Highways discussed the issues that have risen with the highway department grinding roads.

The past couple of years, the highway department has ground a significant number of county roads one year and then the next year come back in a either chip and sealed, pug paved or hot mix asphalt paved the roads.  Peters said, “It’s a process we’ve done for the last couple of years. We’ve ground them, left them for a year, they go through the freeze and thaw cycle and then we come back the next year and finish them.”

Peters listed two roads that the county has done, Queen and 6B were ground in 2015, set for a year and then paved in 2016.

Two of the commissioners, Kurt Garner and Mike Delp want the highway department to pave as many of the roads ground last month as possible this year.  Peters said he would like to sit down with the commissioners and evaluate last year’s roads that were ground and the ones on this year’s road plan to come up with a plan to put them back together.  He suggested using traffic counts and residential counts to help determine which roads should be improved and which ones should be left gravel for the long term.

The two commissioners are interested in seeing 7 Road from Jarrah to Fir, Beech Road, Hawthorn Road, 6B, and another segment of Beech Road from 3B to US 6 be paved yet this year.  Roughing out the numbers Peters said it would take about $700,000 to complete their request.

Peters said “I’m kind of adamant of about leaving those for one year.  I do think that when they run that freeze thaw cycle one year it makes a big difference.”  He continued, “I think what I’m more scared of is putting a chip seal back on those roads and we do have some soft spots that reoccur through one freeze thaw year, we’d have to come back and address those spots with a new road.”

Commissioner Kurt Garner said he would like to amend the 2017 Road Plan to include the roads ground this year except those that should be left gravel permanently.  He said his preference would be to use this year’s Community Crossings funds to avoid letting the ground roads sit for a year.  Gardner said, “I haven’t seen the justification in why we approach it that way.”

Commissioner Kevin Overmyer asked what the plan would be for the roads ground last year if the other two commissioners want this year’s ground roads taken care of yet this year.  Garner then said that the County Council hasn’t yet committed the $1 million dollar match for the Community Crossings Grant and it’s not known what the state’s plan is for this year.

Overmyer said last year the Community Crossing grant required projects to be for roads that had high traffic counts and those with an economic impact.  That’s why the county selected the four-lane highway north of Plymouth up to LaPaz, Elm Road, Fir Road in Bourbon, Union Road and Muckshaw Road.

Commissioner Delp weighed in on the discussion and said, “Beech Road up by RenTown, 7th Road, 6B and Union Road, we just need to put them back.  I’m looking here at the number of houses on them and some with businesses.  I just think we need to try and get those covered.”

After a lengthy discussion Kurt Garner motioned to amend the 2017 Road Plan to include the roads that were ground this year.  With a recommendation from the Supervisor of County Highways on which roads should stay gravel permanently.

Garner said, “Once we have a total number, you think about $2.4 million, if we need to prioritize things based on council funding, then we’ll do that.”

The motion passed 2 to 1 with Commissioner Kevin Overmyer voting against and saying, “I don’t think we should amend the plan we have in place.”