BY MELANIE BUCK –
Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison is pleased to announce the final phase of a 7.64 mile road improvement project. Hard surfacing will begin in the next few weeks on Polk County Roads 45, 41, 46, 703, and resurfacing on Polk 70. This project started last fall with clearing, drainage, elevation, and surface gravel work.
Reconstruction was complete on Polk 41 when major flood damage occurred during the 2015 Christmas flood leaving it unsuitable for surfacing. “Since that time, repairs have been made and mitigation work has been done, hopefully, shielding this section of road from a similar event,” said Ellison. He also said that FEMA will likely pay for some of the mitigation work.
Polk 70, near the Posey Hollow community, will receive 350 tons of asphalt leveling and a single seal of asphalt emulsion with small aggregate coating over the existing hard surface. The other four roads will be “double sealed,” Ellison explained. This process requires an oily primer application over the completed subgrade gravel surface and left to cure for a few days. Then the first layer of hot asphalt emulsion is applied quickly followed by 3/8 inch and smaller clean aggregate. After the first layer has firmed up, the surface is swept and the second seal is applied. After a few days it is swept again and is complete.
Polk County contracts the hard surfacing part of the project, but uses its own equipment and labor force to rebuild the roads and prepare for hard surfacing. Salt Creek Paving, of Benton, Arkansas, won the bid for this project with a quote of $421,333.40. After the conclusion of this project, Polk County anticipates receiving $152,000 from the United States Forest Service (USFS) for partial reimbursement for the work done on Polk 70. This reimbursement is part of a Title II agreement between the two for drainage and road improvements. “Polk 70 was not in terrible condition, but one of the main tenants in our 10 year plan is to make sure the good roads remain in good condition. I presented this project to the USFS’s Resource Advisory Committee a year and a half ago and they awarded it to us. The other four roads required very time consuming and extensive work to justify a hard surface, although, they had been surfaced several years ago,” Ellison said.
Because of the previous drainage and lack of base work, the improvements didn’t survive. Another tenant in Ellison’s 10-year plan is to reconstruct the roads of worst condition with the highest vehicle counts first, and to build them to a standard of a permanent road. “Not only do these roads service many residents between Highway 8 West and Highway 375 West, but are used as cut through roads by other travelers,” he explained.
Ellison also said that before primer is applied, the county will do its best to warn the traveling public about the short term coming peril of oily roads. Avoiding these routes for a couple of days until the primer cures is advisable, but if traveling on these routes is necessary, driving 5 mph or less will keep most of the oil off your vehicle and is less likely to degrade the work. “As this project completes, new projects are being developed and will be announced soon.”