County Comment: Pavement Maintenance Underway

County Comment
Pavement Maintenance Underway
by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer

Washington County highways are being reconstructed, repaved, and patched this year at a funding level almost 4 times higher than prior years. This aggressive highway restoration program is a strong response by the Board of County Commissioners to a recommendation by the Director of Public Works and supported by the County Administrator to program $25 million over the next five years to address the County's pavement deficiencies.
On June 14th, the Board of County Commissioners approved the $3.32 million Pavement Management Program for Fiscal Year 2006, with an option to utilize an additional $657,000 in funding from the current fiscal year budget to add additional roads to the project.
The Division of Public Works prioritized 28 projects for improvements to 24 roads from Sandy Hook to Warfordsburg and from Mount Aetna to Hancock.
Citizens will see a sharp increase in activity by paving crews from C. William Hetzer, Inc., of Hagerstown, the winning bidder for that contract.
Pavement Maintenance Program employs a much broader and more cost-effective approach to pavement deficiencies than the County's past pavement overlay programs. The program is generally described as asphalt preservation, repair and rehabilitation. It includes, but not limited to crack repair and sealing, Slurry Seal, full depth patch, hot mix asphalt overlay, and full depth pavement reclamation or "reconstruction." Beginning this summer crews will place 6 miles of hot mix asphalt overlay, 4.2 miles of full depth reclamation, 21 miles of crack sealing, 9.7 miles of Slurry Seal, plus pavement markings and loop detectors.
Deputy Chief Engineer Rob Slocum said that based on an anticipated Notice to Proceed date of June 27th, the contract will run through June 26th, 2006.
Roads receiving some form of improvement under the current contract include Beaver Creek Road, Bottom Road, College Road, Crystal Falls Drive, Dam Number 4 Road, Dog Street Road, Edgewood Drive, Edward Doub Road, Elliott Parkway, Governor Lane Boulevard, Halfway Boulevard, Hollow Road, Massey Boulevard, Maugansville Road, Medical Campus Road, Mount Aetna Road, Prosperity Lane, Rench Road, Ritchie Road, Sandy Hook Road, Trego Road, Warfordsburg Road and the Western Maryland Parkway.
County Chief Engineer Terry McGee said that the original list was prioritized by need, citing several roads in the County as examples.
With the additional funds, other roads will likely be added to the list from a preventive maintenance as well as a repair standpoint. [GWR1] The Public Works staff will review the priority list and make further recommendations to the Commissioners for continued work under the contract as funds permit.
The Washington County Highway system contains 850 centerline miles of roads and streets, and each mile is assessed for structural damage and prioritized based on a number of variables.
Most of the Highway User Revenues that have been withheld from the Counties over the two years when state officials used the funds for other purposes have been reinstated.
Highway User funds are generated by state taxes on fuel, are allocated to Counties based on the number of road miles and are earmarked for highway operations and maintenance.
Loss of those revenues severely impaired local jurisdictions' ability to maintain, much less improve roadways, and led to public outcry about potholes and deterioration statewide.