• 75°

Fix In For Jackson-Liberty Road

The fix is in.

Beginning Wednesday, motorists can expect several weeks ofdetours in the Loyd Star area while road crews perform along-awaited repair project to a nearby section of Jackson-LibertyDrive. The 1.5-mile stretch beginning at Highway 550 and continuingnorth will be closed to thru traffic for at least one month whilethe layered repairs are put in place.

“We only want the folks who live on that road to use it, andeveryone else needs to use the detours while it’s torn up,” saidLincoln County Administrator David Fields.

It’s a short stretch of road, but it’s caused long problems formotorists.

Supervisors, engineers and the Office of State Aid RoadConstruction unknowingly approved a faulty plan for repaving theroad in 2008, and the project’s shortcomings became evident justweeks after work was completed when the road began to fail.Blueprints for the job were created in 1994, when the project wasoriginally planned, but supervisors found themselves in a 14-yearfight to acquire rights-of-way and the plans aged on the shelf.

When work finally started two years ago, the traffic count theplans were based on had increased from 500 vehicles per day tobetween 1,300-1,500.

Coupled with heavy truck traffic from logging operations andconstant rain during the project, Jackson-Liberty Drive’s clay andgravel base quickly deteriorated, causing the surface to crack,split and pothole to a condition that was worse than it was before.Residents complained.

But the new repairs getting under way Wednesday were recommendedby a pavement engineer specialist and should rightJackson-Liberty’s wrong, said county engineer Jeff Dungan,principal of Dungan Engineering, PA.

“We’re about to have three or four weeks of construction thatwill reconstruct the road base and strengthen it to hold up underthat traffic,” he said. “Basically, May is Fix Jackson-LibertyDrive Month.”

The base reclamation project will begin when contractors OddeeSmith and Sons, Inc., lay down a layer of soil cement on thesurface and then mill up the entire road to create a new base,Dungan said. The new base will contain 7 percent cement and be 6inches deep, creating basically a concrete base, he said.

The new mixture will be allowed to cure for one week, then aliquid asphalt seal will be installed on the base and also allowedto set up for one week, Dungan said. After the new base comestogether, repaving will begin.

The result should be a strong slag road that won’t cave in underthe weight of heavy traffic that includes buses and trucks, hesaid.

“It will be just like we have now, but it won’t be falling topieces,” Dungan said.

The reclamation project is expected to cost around $186,000,with 80 percent paid by federal funding. No local tax dollars willbe used on the project, though supervisors will have to kick inabout $37,000 of their limited State Aid funds.

District Five Supervisor Gary Walker asked Loyd Star arearesidents to refrain from traveling on Jackson-Liberty Drive untilthe project is completed. Only people who live on the road shouldtravel it, he said.

“I’m ready for it to be fixed, and hopefully, that’s it,” Walkersaid. “I have seen other roads they’ve put soil cement under …and there’s not even a blemish on it anywhere.”