BY MELANIE BUCK –
County Judge Brandon Ellison has announced the locations of the 2017 Spring seal and reseal projects, which include approximately nine miles of roadway in several parts of the county. In addition, the county has purchased equipment that will speed up the process and save tax dollars.
In total, Ellison has prepared 9.1 miles of road for the project. Two miles of the project have an existing asphalt surface, with multiple sections that have been cut open and repaired previously. Ellison said the drainage has been improved in both areas and they will be completely resurfaced. One mile of that project is Polk 117, also known as Racetrack Road. The second mile is the east section of Polk 76W, also known as P. Reed Road, beginning at Highway 71.
The remaining 7.1 miles of the project have had their existing surface removed, drainage improved, elevations raised, and a new base subgrade applied and compacted. This portion of the project will also receive a primer coat and two seals of asphalt emulsion and aggregate. The roads that make up the 7.1 miles are: Polk 77 – College Road from Mena city limits to Hillcrest on Highway 71; Polk 113 – the county portion of the Industrial Park; Polk 116 – services the neighborhood behind the college; Polk 76W – the western portion from the railroad tracks to Racetrack Road; Polk 8 – west of Wickes, from Wickes city limits to Polk 219; Polk 219 – west of Wickes, from Polk 8 to bridge; Polk 33 near Vandervoort, the first two miles going east to Polk 272.
To help complete the project, the county made the decision to invest in a few pieces of equipment. “In the past, the county has completed all of the preparation work for these projects and then bid out the contract for the final surface. Beginning with this project, the county now will complete the entire job,” said Ellison.
The purchased equipment includes a new, 2000 gallon oil distributor truck, new chip spreader, used pneumatic roller, and a used sweeper. The equipment was purchased with funds retained from the 2016 budget and inside the 2017 budget and totaled approximately $440,000. “I expect the return on investment to be about 2 ½ years, a relatively short time in this business.”
Ellison explained that the preparation work, including drainage, elevation, and compaction for the Spring projects will cost around $227,000. If a contractor were hired to complete the surfacing and resurfacing, the estimated cost would be $582,000. With the new equipment purchased, the surfacing and resurfacing will cost approximately $408,000, resulting in a $174,000 savings in the first project use.
Ellison hopes to begin the projects the first week of May, if the weather cooperates. He said the surfacing shouldn’t take long and hopes to be complete by the end of May. “I doubt the public will see any difference during or after the surfacing operation. They are used to seeing our crews during all of the preparation work, which takes the majority of the time. The surfacing portion goes rather quickly in comparison.”