Officials pledge to repair more roads 'D' rating prompts vow to improve

October 10, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

More money will be spent to repair Carroll roads in the next fiscal year, two commissioners said Friday.

Many county roads have fallen into such disrepair that the county earned a "D" on a computer-rating scale, Public Works Director Keith R. Kirschnick said. The county rates roads on an A to F scale, with F representing the worst condition.

"I think now is the time to give roads a priority in the capital budget," Commissioner Donald I. Dell said.

Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy said it's time for the county "to pay the piper" for roads.

The commissioners cut the roads budget during the past several years to help make ends meet, he said.

"We let the potholes get a little bigger and the bridges get a little rustier."

Mr. Kirschnick explained his budget request Friday to the Planning Commission, which has the first review of capital projects.

The commission will recommend to the county commissioners in December which projects the county can afford.

Mr. Kirschnick asked for $5.5 million to repair and to build county roads in fiscal 1995, which runs from July 1, 1994, to June 30, 1995.

The county budgeted $2.9 million for roads in the current fiscal year. In fiscal 1993, the county spent $4.1 million on roads.

Commissioner Julia W. Gouge could not be reached for comment Friday. During meetings about the current year's budget she said she was concerned about cuts to the roads budget.

"It's cheaper to maintain roads than it is to build them," Planning Commission member David T. Duree said.

Mr. Kirschnick said a new road-rating system makes it easier to track the condition of Carroll's roads and to explain the need for repairs.

Last winter, Public Works crews drove the 900 miles of county roads and scored each road based on the roughness of the surface and the number of patches, potholes and cracks, he said.

Employees fed the information into a computer, which divided the roads into four categories regarding their need for repairs: no maintenance, routine maintenance, overlay required or reconstruction.

Overall, Carroll roads rated a 69 out of 100, which is below average, Mr. Kirschnick said. A national rule-of-thumb says the score should be in the 80s, he said.

The capital plan detailed to the Planning Commission would achieve a score of 80 by fiscal 1998, he said.

Cuts in spending this year on overlay, a concrete material used to protect a road and to lengthen its life by 10 to 15 years, have hurt, he said.

The county budgeted $300,000 this fiscal year for overlays, enough to repair only three miles of road, he said. In contrast, the county budgeted $2.5 million for overlays in fiscal 1993, enough to repair 25 miles of road.

Ideally, the county should use overlay on 60 miles of road each year to keep the roads in good condition, he said.

Roads tagged for work in the next fiscal year are in the worst condition, Mr. Kirschnick said.

The five most expensive projects requested for fiscal 1995 include:

* Salem Bottom Road -- widening of 5.9 miles from Route 854 to Route 26 at a cost of $700,000.

* Fridinger Mill Road -- widening of five miles from Beggs Road to Route 30 at a cost of $600,000.

* Overlay on roads in the Emerald Valley, White Pine Acres, Peach Mill Estates, High Ridge, The Hemlocks and Long Meadows subdivisions, at a total cost of $600,000.

* Bartholow Road -- widening of four miles from Klees Mill Road to Route 32 at a cost of $520,000.

* Otterdale Mill Road -- overlay on 3.3 miles from Middleburg Road to Trevanion Road at a cost of $300,000.

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