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Friday, May 27, 2016

Road districts prepare summer projects

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Area road district commissioners and maintenance foremen have began plans for summer projects. The Monett Special Road District has targeted roads in both Lawrence and Barry counties.

Clayton Bunch, foreman for the Monett district, said nearly three and a half miles of overlay are planned. The Barry County portions include one mile of Farm Road 2020, between Farm Roads 1050 and 1060 near the New Site Baptist Church; one mile of Farm Road 2030 from Highway 37 to Farm Road 1090; and a quarter mile of Farm Road 1050, south from Farm Road 2020.

In Lawrence County, one mile of Farm Road 2220 is scheduled for overlaying between Farm Roads 1090 and 1100. All the roads slated for overlay had significant wear, Bunch said.

Chip and seal work is planned on Farm Road 2220 between Highway H and Farm Road 1070. Bunch said the potholes have been patched by hand as many times as possible and need an overlay to protect them.

Bunch said resurfacing will be done around mid-July. Commissioner Bill Medlin Sr. said the district may be able to complete three or four miles of road leveling work next summer.

Rural Monett roads, like those in surrounding districts, held up well over the mild winter. Herman Lehde, with the Freistatt Special Road District, said very little hand patching was needed in his district, making more money available for major work. However, Lehde said chip and seal costs double the expense of four years ago.

Lehde said district crews plan to use their lay-down machine to put an inch and a half top coat on the mile of Farm Road 1090 that adjoins with the Monett Special Road District, north of the Liberty Church.

Remaining funds will be used to chip and seal about two miles of roads. The roads involved will be determined around September. In the meantime, Lehde said crews will strip seal at least three-eighths of a mile of Farm Road 1070.

This spring the Freistatt Road District has invested around $5,000 in maintenance on the mower shared with the Mt. Pleasant Road District. Freistatt crews made their initial mowing run covering the corners and will work on mowing up to the fence lines when the mower returns from Mt. Pleasant, Lehde said.

The commissioners for the Pierce Special Road District have targeted Farm Road 1050, from Highway 37 to Farm Road 2220, and a mile of Farm Road 1020, between Farm Roads 2230 and 2240. They planned to overlay bad portions than cover both miles with chip and seal.

The commissioners bid their job separate from the county contract and awarded the work to Hutchens Construction. They expect to see roads resurfaced during the first weeks of July.

Usually three miles of work in the Pierce district are resurfaced annually. The commissioners said the added cost of overlaying would take up the funds that would have been used for a third mile.

Marvin Carney, foreman for the Purdy Special Road District, said his patching crew kept up with problems over the winter, leaving no catch-up needed this spring. Carney said he has too many rough roads to concentrate all the available funds to improve the worst sections.

At the present time, Carney's crews are working on widening and extending around nine different culverts. He hoped to have forms built to pour concrete on all of them this week. Wings on many of the culverts have broken off. He plans to put a new kind of striped marker in place that farmers can lower when their equipment passes, then put the markers back in place.

"We've been blessed with skinny roads forever," Carney said. "We're going to target one of the oldest and skinniest roads, Farm Road 1075, between Highway HH and Highway B. I'd like to make a whole new road for about two miles, but we can't afford that. I've picked out the roughest part and we've done shoulder work and cleaned out the ditches."

With the cooperation of landowners, Carney got fences along the road removed so that his crews could clean the brush, slope the bank and remove the trees whose branches have battered passing school buses for years. Removing the brush and timber will help the road to dry.

Similar work was done over the winter on Farm Road 1050, which Carney called "a buggy trail" that has been upgraded to handle truck traffic to nearby chicken houses. Carney plans to smooth the roughest spots on roads around the district and spend more than usual on patching and overlays.

Around September, Carney plans to reassess his roads and pick stretches for a mile or two of chip and seal work. He said he would rather not surface roads that late in the year, but will need to wait for additional revenue.

"You've got to do chip and seal work before the leaves fall," Carney said. "We used to use MC oil. It was nice to have a little heat to settle the rocks into it. With the emulsion oil we use now, it sets up in 30 minutes and it's done. You need to have clean rock to use emulsion oil, though. If it's dusty, the oil won't stick. It will seal the surface but not the rocks underneath."

After 21 years with the Purdy district, Carney is pleased to have reduced the number of dirt roads from 37 miles to three. He wants to continue the strategy of keeping the existing roads intact, though rough, to avoid having large sections return to dirt.

"You can go around to other parts of the state and see a whole lot worse roads than we've got," Carney said. "I'd like to see some of the road districts consolidate. If we could have bigger districts, we could take the money and put our own crews to work over the county and we'd have a lot better deal."

Carney encouraged patrons in his district to call him when they find problems.

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