County seeks long-term fix for hole-ridden roads

Monday, April 21, 2008

Putnam County Commissioners Gene Beck, Kristina Warren and Jim Baird met with highway personnel Friday afternoon in a special session to gather information about the state of the county's roads. They agreed to come up with a long-term solution that includes thinking outside the box and making sure the public is in the communication loop.

Without having final budget numbers, the group is finding it hard to determine how to fix everything that needs repair with the amount of money they think they will have.

After much discussion, the group determined an approximate amount they believe will be the budget for roadwork in the county.

"It looks like we will have between $600,000 and $650,000 dollars to work with. That doesn't do much paving does it," said Highway Department Superintendent Dave Sutherlin.

Highway department staff assembled lists by townships of the work that needs to be done. Estimated costs for repair using chip and seal only in the following townships are: $202,875 in Jackson, $34,650 in Russell, $162,500 in Cloverdale, $105,000 in Warren, $170,000 in Clinton, $95,000 in Washington, $87,500 in Jefferson, $62,500 in Marion, $25,000 in Greencastle, $50,075 in Franklin and $98,825 in Floyd Township.

"These numbers don't include any paving or filling of potholes. It's just material for chip and sealing," added Sutherlin.

In 2007, the highway department repaired 3.187 miles with chip and seal; black-topped 0.718 miles of chip and seal; repaired 5.791 miles of Pug roads with chip and seal; used Pug on 5.225 miles of roads and chewed up roads then chip and sealed 4.748 miles of roads.

This years list of roads needed repaired is more than double that of last year and there is less money in the budge.

All three commissioners agreed the group would have to determine criteria to choose what roads would be fixed.

"The roads with the most traffic need to be repaired first," agreed Warren and Beck. Counters will be placed on roads next week to determine the most heavily traveled roads that need repair work.

"We also need to fix the drainage on many of the roads," stated Jim Baird. "We have some roads where the water just sits," he added.

The discussion turned toward how to determine the best process to repair the roads and to make the repairs last longer.

"If all we do is grade and use crack and seal, we'll be back next year to do the work over again," said Sutherlin.

Baird brought up the idea of using better products or new equipment which might cost more but would keep roads in good repair for much longer periods of time.

"We need to try some of these new things," stated Baird.

Warren agreed, "We're going to have to think outside the box to be able to do all this. I would rather fix the problem than just put a bandage on it."

"We would be better off to use PUG (a coal mix of hot asphalt, oil, rock and sand). We already know the roads last five to 10 years longer with PUG," Sutherlin added.

The meeting ended with the group agreeing that they would determine a plan that includes what roads will be fixed based on usage, what materials will work best and last longest, explore new methods and keep the public informed of the plan. They also agreed the plan would be updated annually and reviewed frequently.

"Everybody's road they live on is the worst one in the county," said Baird. "If we just simply look at traffic numbers to determine what gets worked on first and pick the best means to fix them we'll end up ahead."

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  • "Everybody's road they live on is the worst one in the county," said Baird. "If we just simply look at traffic numbers to determine what gets worked on first and pick the best means to fix them we'll end up ahead."

    Tell it like it usually is, you will fix the roads of the highest paying tax base area first. That makes more sense and usually means a higher traffic number anyway. It's understandable how the money is tight nowadays, winter is always rough on our county's roads. Plenty of work to do now!

    -- Posted by Xgamer on Mon, Apr 21, 2008, at 5:39 AM
  • it should not matter where you live or the amount of traffic on the roads, as much as the county gets all the roads should be fixed and if each year they were fixed properly then you could go on to the next instead of always just half fixing or half patching everything. get with it it is 2008 and the roads in southwestern putnam county look like a wagon trail. i pay high taxes $2500 a year why cant my roads get fixed!

    -- Posted by kamiller on Mon, Apr 21, 2008, at 11:46 AM
  • It is good to see that the Commissioners are interested in this long standing problem. I'm sure the election coming up has nothing to do with their increased interest.

    -- Posted by justasking on Mon, Apr 21, 2008, at 3:37 PM
  • Don't ya think that the amount of traffic might be lighter when the road is a dirt wash board? Guess they think people don't have enough sense to chose an alternate route to spare their tires and automobile... That's right Folks, just keep jarring your teeth out and tearing up your vehicle so the road traffic count will be higher. So, guess what their measurements will show for traffic usage....They certainly are using their brains withis method...DOH!

    -- Posted by AmCountry on Mon, Apr 21, 2008, at 9:08 PM
  • I didn't see Madison township on the list, lots of gravel roads there. Also Madison has the main road through the western part of the county, West Walnut street or cr 125 south which carries a lot of vehicle traffic including heavy trucks going and coming from the sawmill.

    But as anyone who lives out there knows, the world ends at Walker Lane or maybe Saddle Club road as evidenced by the lack of maintenance or repairs to the road. The painted center line even ends at Four Arch road when Walnut street really gets narrow, curvy and hilly and you need a visible center line that much more.

    -- Posted by duallydriver on Mon, Apr 21, 2008, at 9:30 PM
  • I agree with duallydriver, I live in Madison Township and unfortunately we are not in another county like Clay, they seem to fix their roads! I pay GOOD money in taxes, plus I have to PAY for my road to be oiled every summer. If you inquire with these people they tell us that we are "on the list." It must be a BAD list because we have never come up for improvements. Just keep buying tires on an annual basis and fixing the alignment, brakes and bearings on your vehicles. The commissioners don't care about us out there. I'm not voting for a single one of them.

    -- Posted by SamHill on Tue, Apr 22, 2008, at 2:19 PM
  • Please, please, patch up these roads. I own a motorcycle, and do not enjoy hitting pot holes and rough roads, bumps, gravel patched areas, etc. With the high gas prices, the bike really comes in handy.


    -- Posted by GRNT on Wed, Apr 23, 2008, at 7:02 AM
  • Can we also do something about the half @$$ work the contractors do when they work on the roads? Who here isn't tired of the "fixed" spots they have worked on? The "keep the money in the County" attitude does work. A little competition with outside contractors may do the trick...

    -- Posted by ibeme on Wed, Apr 23, 2008, at 8:59 AM
  • I agree with ibeme. Half @@@sss roads. Why should we go out of county, when we have Spiker fixing everything. Does the county pay for his health insurance also. FIX the roads. Let's not think about light bulbs being "given" out to everyone. Start thinking of the more important things in this county and start working on a solution and then take care of the problem.

    -- Posted by cty-govt-a-muck on Wed, Apr 23, 2008, at 12:41 PM
  • The problem is we don't have any politicians on the roads that need fixed.If we did -We would have our dirt roads paved.

    -- Posted by cmlandscape on Wed, Apr 23, 2008, at 7:27 PM
  • This winter season seemed exceptionally harsh on all the roads whether gravel or the interstate. The most traveled is not necessarily the one in the worst condition. Do think outside the box on this one and do the best you can.

    I do think election season probably has a lot to do with the peaked interest. Where are those darn kissing babies when you need one???

    -- Posted by gingb2 on Wed, Apr 23, 2008, at 10:01 PM
  • I agree with AMCOUNTRY. My family bypasses our normal route because of the condition of the road. I'm sure other drivers do the same if they can. Why take a chance on damaging the car? Therefore, the counting is not going to give an accurate count. Apparently the commissioners don't live on roads that are in desparate need of repair or they would have thought of this themselves. There has to be a solution to this problem; please let's find it.

    -- Posted by bgr on Thu, Apr 24, 2008, at 5:49 PM
  • I must say I live on one of these just lovely roads. I would like to know where all of my tax dollars are going since they are clearly not fixing these roads. My road has been in shambles for quite some time.

    It's funny how election time is coming up and we are JUST now wanting to fix these roads. I find that awfully convenient. I would love for the road workers to come fix my road. We cannot even sit outside and enjoy the great weather due to all the dust. I mean we live in 2008 not 1808. Let's get these roads fixed.

    Money is there if you all would find a way to spend it properly. You all are doing a great job on running people out due to these roads. About the counters. Okay that sounds like a good idea. But you have to know that people are going another way so therefor you will not be getting an accurate number of the people that go on this road.

    Unfortunately for me I am stuck on driving on this big dust ball. I would much rather of have to play dodge ball on this road then mess with all the dust and flying gravel!!

    -- Posted by FrustratedPutnamCntyResident on Fri, Apr 25, 2008, at 10:11 PM
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