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March 15, 2008 


“TAKE ASPHALT AND THROW IT IN THE HOLES”

 Believe it or not, the above sentence is a direct quote from the county engineer when he was asked about resurfacing and/or patching Jackson Lake Road at the March BOC meeting.   To be fair, he went on to say that “doing a perfect job was a waste of time.”   The engineer said he felt that patching and resurfacing Jackson Lake Road was a waste of time and money and that the only way to fix it was to reclaim it—that is completely tear it up and re-do it.

 
BUT by looking at the way roads are patched in Jasper County right now it appears that that is exactly what is done—throw asphalt in the holes and go on.

 See examples--click image to make it larger:

PatchPothole

 Asphalt is “thrown in the hole”, not smoothed over, doesn’t even fill the hole.  The patch sticks up above the road making for a rough ride. This is why when it rains or freezes the asphalt comes loose and you have a pothole again.

 

HFPotholes

Oopps!  Someone must have forgotten to throw some asphalt in this one, even though the one next to it got “fixed.”  Unfortunately, we don’t do “half-way patching,” much less “perfect” patching in Jasper County.

Patches

Many Jasper County roads are little more than a maze of patching and re-patching. 

7IRPatches 

Jasper County roads are not and have not been maintained on a regular basis.  The sides completely disappear into a mass of potholes or as with this road, sink down a foot lower than the rest of the road.

 

Repatch

Potholes are patched and re-patched.  Why?  Why not do a good job, the best job, every time?  It would cost less in the long run.

 
Jasper County has a Public Works Director that has been employed with the county for 20 years. The Director assured the Commissioners he knew how to operate the new equipment they purchased and could use it to maintain the roads.  However, Comm. Pennamon informed the BOC and citizens in attendance at the March meeting that the Public Works Dep’t had just paid to have the Public Works people trained on the new equipment.  The engineer has said more than once that he is training the  Public Works Director.  The Public Works Director just got a $1,156 per year raise and now makes $45,731 per year.  He is one of the highest paid employees in the County.  Do we get our monies worth?  

It was a real shocker when the Engineer said Jasper County should hire a contractor to do the work on Jackson Lake Road because “you don’t have the equipment in this county.”  Comm. Pennamon said, “We just bought a chip spreader, can’t we use that?”  The engineer agreed that it could be used, but that “triple surface” would be a rougher ride than asphalt. 

 Again, Comm. Pennamon commented, “Why not go ahead and fix road with what we got? Not just let the road go.  Go ahead and fix it.”  The Engineer said triple surface would last 2 years if you put a real thin layer and not spend much on it.  He doesn’t want to spend a lot of money so the County can wait on State money and then do it right.  According to the engineer Jackson Lake Road has 5000 to 7000 cars a day travel on it from Hwy 16 to Hwy 212—the only portion being considered for paving and patching. 

 Comm. Bernard then made a motion to “reclaim the road, by borrowing money, using all contingency money in 2007and 2008, and use any surplus money the County has to go ahead and do Jackson Lake Rd.  Comm. Yarbrough 2nd.

 The engineer said the road should be added to the SPLOST list because you get better prices. (This road is already on the SPLOST list—2nd group of roads.)  Comm. Yarbrough said the County needs to wait at least 6 months to see if we hear anything about State money before anything is done.  “If we don’t think we’ll get anything from the State, then consider doing it on our own.”

 Comm. Bernard said, “Jackson Lake Road needs to be paved as soon as possible at $1.5 Million, funding it using any surplus, contingencies, and limited borrowings not to exceed 5 years.”  Comm. Johnson said he wants to do something with the road, but not borrow money.  Comm. Pennamon said, “We need to do something now with triple surface.  Spend $50,000 now and move on.”  The Engineer said the County should only do bad areas.  Comm. Pennamon said we need to do the whole road.  The engineer emphasized that it would cost much more than $50,000.

 After more than a ½ hour of discussion, the BOC finally voted 5-0 to have the Engineer bring back three cost proposals: 1. Triple surface entire road; 2. Triple surface bad areas only; and 3. Cost of reclaiming road and completely re-doing it.

 Every road in Jasper County needs to be considered.  Not for total repaving or patching, but for timely road maintenance so that the roads don’t completely go to “pot” as they are doing and have been doing  for the last 10 years.  This includes maintaining our dirt roads so trees aren’t growing up in what used to be the ditches along side the roads.  Road maintenance should be one of the top priorities of the Commissioners.

TWG
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