BY MELANIE WADE –
Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison said the latest road projects in the county have come to a successful completion and crews will now spend the winter gearing up for projects coming in Spring 2018.
After the successful 2017 Spring Project that focused on work in Wickes, Vandervoort and Mena areas, the Polk County Road Department began work on the summer project. This project consisted of roads near Hatfield, Ink, Yocana and Cherry Hill. A small fall project was added near the Nunley and Board Camp communities to wrap up the hard surfacing operations for 2017.
This year’s summer seal and re-seal program focused on several roads including Polk 28 and 30 near Hatfield, Polk Roads 74 (Ink Snack Bar), 87, 71, and 70 (Cherry Hill end). The total length of the project was 7.15 miles.
“Final surfacing costs for this project were $288,000,” said Ellison. This includes all materials, Polk County Road Department’s labor and equipment costs (based on FEMA cost codes), and striping. “Of course, it should be noted that the surfacing operation is the final phase of any road project and there is always a significant amount of time and money spent preparing for that depending on the condition of the subject road,” he added. The project was a mix, in that regard. About one half of the mileage was completely reconstructed receiving new drainage pipe, elevation work, and road base. The balance of the project consisted of spot reconstruction, limited drainage work, cut and asphalt repair and then a re-surface.
During the fall seal and re-seal projects, Polk Roads 56 and 57 were the subject and were also a mix of total reconstruction, repair and seal. These portions of roads are located in the Nunley and Board Camp areas. Total mileage of this project was 1.5 miles. The surfacing cost was $61,500.
“I urge our citizens to travel these roads and see the professional job our road crew is doing. In the past we have contracted our final surfacing. This year we performed the task using our new surfacing equipment and the results were very good. We were able to do 19.9 miles this year, much of it was double sealed. The quality is good, and we saved around $300,000 over previous contracted projects of equal quantities.”
Part of the cost savings can be attributed to Judge Ellison adding to the county’s fleet of equipment this past Spring. The purchased equipment included 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 stated at that time.