The Lawrence County Commission and road district commissioners discussed rough conditions on rural roads during the annual road commissioners meeting held Wednesday morning in Mt. Vernon.
County Clerk Gary Emerson administered the oath of office to new and re-elected commissioners. All but four attended the session. Emerson also gave a brief presentation on the Missouri Sunshine Law.
"There was a general consensus that roads are in bad shape," Emerson said. "Oil prices are high. That results in another kind of perfect storm."
Freezing and thawing this spring resulted in more damage to asphalt roads than in a typical year. Emerson said roads over rural agricultural areas with naturally soft soil were in worse condition, while roads in rocky areas that are not very fertile held up better.
Presiding Commissioner Sam Goodman said revenues from both the sales tax for road and bridge maintenance and the County Aid Road Trust (CART) Fund are not doing well, making road repairs more difficult.
County commissioners sought bids for chip and seal construction as well as cold mix repairs. Blevins Asphalt, of Mt. Vernon, received the contract for cold mix work. Hutchens Construction, of Cassville, was awarded the chip and seal contract. Road districts will be able to arrange work at the same rate under the county contracts.
Much of the discussion focused on using different types on oil or aggregate in different soil conditions for lasting results. Dusty roads in particular call for a different approach. Methods for sealing potholes were also discussed.
Tim Schnakenberg, agronomy specialist with the University of Missouri Extension Service, talked about the need for weed control to maintain sight lines along right of ways. Schnakenberg discussed using herbicides for specific weeds and the importance of applying them at the right time.
"The atmosphere wasn't gloomy," Emerson said. "A lot of these guys have been on road commissions for a while and have seen good times and bad times. It seemed like they took the approach, 'This is what we're dealing with,' and go on from there."