Several constituents have called and ask about this next year’s road projects and so it is time to provide an update on our district road and bridge capital improvement program and the “Save to Pave” project. When I first took office I committed to save our portion of the new highway sales tax allocated to the district to pave one mile of district roadway a year. Once we saved enough to pave a mile we conducted a brief opinion poll in November last year and conducted a town hall meeting in December to discuss the results. At the save to pave town hall meeting there were several great ideas discussed one of which called for further review and study. The one idea most everyone agreed with was to conduct a most traveled traffic study of the top five roadway candidates.
After conducting both a blind vote and traffic study this year we selected Charter Oak between Western and Pennsylvania as the first mile to be paved; and following completion, Forest Hills between Coltrane and Sooner Road as the second mile to be paved this year. We are currently repairing the failed roadway base on Charter Oak and will complete the milling process next month and then begin the overlay early April this year, weather permitting. Finishing up around July we expect to move to Forest Hills and complete that mile by late September.
After looking at the funds available and accounting for a downward estimated sales tax collection this next year, it appears we will be able to do two miles this summer instead of just one. Using our district road equipment and crews as “force accounts” we may even have some left over for next year’s project.
Here are some very interesting facts for all to consider. Using only our county road crews and the ODOT county road engineering standards we can, on average, construct a one mile paved roadway to those standards for approximately 1/10th of the cost of a project involving state or federal grant funding. Our county road crews really do provide the very best value to our taxpayers in this regard.
While we will continue to apply for various state and federal transportation grants as they become available, we should all be aware that these funding streams come with many strings and additional conditions that significantly increase the real cost and time of project completion.
Our Coltrane Road project has now grown to around $10 million dollars to complete the paving of 5 miles of rural/urban roadway. Our county only gets a few million dollars in CIRB funding through ODOT & CEDs each year; I say only a few because it ends up effectively being equivalent to a couple of hundred thousand dollars in real spending.
If we could only get them to put a million dollars in our county roadway funds we could then pave all five miles of the Coltrane project with our county road maintenance crews. But in order for that to happen, some sacred cow legislation will need to be changed. So until then we are forced to wait and again reapply this year for $8 million dollars in federal funding to complete the Coltrane project that was lost in 2013.
In my next update I’ll provide a status on the Simpson Lane, Ward Road, and Simpson Road overlay project; and we are also looking into extending Bryant Avenue south of Charter Oak.
Until next time, be safe out there on our county roads and bridges.
Logan County, District 1
Work: 405 282-3581