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Supervisors eye road repairs for current term

Citizens will be seeing fresh, new black top appearing on roadsduring the next few years, as planning for Lincoln County’sfour-year State Aid road maintenance project has begun.

Lincoln County supervisors will be paying attention to everycrack and pothole in the roads in their districts over the comingweeks to come up with a list of roads to be targeted for upgradesduring the course of the project. The project, set in motion at thebeginning of each four-year term, prioritizes the county’s roadrepair projects for the next four years.

Supervisors have two weeks to determine which roads in theirdistricts will receive top priority, and the plan will be finalizedat the next board meeting. The next four-year plan will not beformulated until 2011.

Dungan Engineering PA Civil Engineer Ryan Holmes said there areseveral conditions that the supervisors will be take into accountwhen determining which roads will be placed atop the repair listfor the project.

“Safety is the biggest concern they’ll be looking at,” he said.”Our job is to help the county maintain safe roads, so the oneswith the most significant damage are the ones we’re going tomaintain and fix first. The roads have to be safe for the public totravel on.”

Holmes said supervisors will also look at each road’s trafficvolume and, finally, condition of the pavement.

The project is divided mainly into two categories – repaving andrepair. Roads placed at the top of the list will receive a new coatof asphalt, others will be patched, and the lowest priority roads -those with little traffic – will simply be restriped to maintainsafety.

The four-year plan is in its initial phases, and even after itis approved it will take time to complete. Holmes said the projectwill develop slowly over the next four years until time to draw upthe next four-year plan.

“It will be quite a while – at least a year away on some ofthese,” he said. “Usually, you’ll program it, develop your plan andit could be three or four years before you actually beginconstruction. The projects we’re currently working on are from lastyear and the previous years. There’s always work going on – this isa long-range plan.”

Before the four-year plan can be approved, supervisors have sometough choices to make. Funding for State Aid road projects hasdecreased and the cost of paving and repairing roads hasincreased.

“Obviously, there’s more roads that need attention than we havefunds for,” Holmes said. “Basically, you just have to go throughand prioritize roads that are in the most need of repair and thenjust do the best you can with the money you have.”

Dungan Engineering Principal and co-founder Jeff Dungan saidcutbacks in the program have reduced the amount of work the countycan do.

“We need to reseal about 75 miles of roads, but the funding justwon’t allow it,” he said. “What we can’t afford to pave, we’regoing to put a new stripe on to keep it safe. Basically, the boardhas decided to reseal 25 miles or so and restripe 90 to 100 milesof roads.”

Dungan said the county receives the same amount of funding forState Aid projects as it always has, but high fuel costs havecaused the price of road work to triple. He said the total amountof work done has had to be cut back by about one-third.

“Right now, each supervisors may have 15 miles that needs to beresealed, but they’re just having to determine the worst sports,”Dungan said.

Dungan said the county will only choose around 25 miles of roadsto be resealed in order to save funding for county-wide roadmaintenance that must be done.

“This year, because of fuel prices, it’s a lot more difficult totake care of basic maintenance needs,” he said. “In fact,(supervisors) can’t – there isn’t enough money. They’re having tomake decisions on priorities they haven’t had to make to thisextent before. Some of the roads are probably not going to be keptup to the level the public is used to – the dollars just won’t goas far.”

Though the prioritization process is still ongoing, some roadshave already been selected.

Dungan said Industrial Park Road, which extends into Brookhaven,is in need of attention. The county must have help from the city torepair the road, he said.

Some of the supervisors also already know which roads in theirdistricts need work. District One Supervisor the Rev. Jerry L.Wilson said he will be focusing on East Lincoln Road for thefour-year project.

“It’s a bad road, and we need to maintain it,” he said. “Theroad is cracking up, and I’ve had to do a lot of patching to it.It’s been a problem to me, and it’s a well-traveled road, one of mymain roads.”

District Two Supervisor Bobby J. Watts has selected Nola Roadfrom his district.

“I haven’t had a chance to sit down by myself and decide, but Iknow the west end of Nola Road will be one,” he said. “It’s in verybad shape – it has what I call ruts. It holds water. The road is invery bad shape, and it needs to be leveled and resurfaced.”

Other roads for the four-year project will be chosen over thenext two weeks.