More than $2 million of road work planned for 2016

HANCOCK COUNTY — For drivers tired of potholes and cracks plaguing county roads, relief is coming.

About 95 miles of county roads will be repaired in 2016 through paving, pothole repair and chip- and crack- sealing.

For the second year, Hancock County is dedicating nearly $2 million to road work to fix and maintain county roads, making them safer for residents to drive on — that’s on par with what the county spent this year and about $500,000 more than the county invested in road repair in 2014.

The planned work will touch small stretches of road in nearly every corner of Hancock County, as roads are paved, cracks and chips are sealed, and potholes are repaired.

A map detailing which roads will be repaired will be posted to the county’s website, hancockcoingov.org.

Paving plans include:

County Road 300W from county roads 100N to 200N

County Road 650N from county roads 400E to 500E

County Road 100W from county roads 350S to 400S

County Road 200S from county roads 100E to 150E

Other main roads scheduled for work include county roads include:

County Road 600W from county roads 100S to 100N, 200N to 300N, crack-sealing

County Road 300N from county roads 500W to 600W, 100W to 50E, crack sealing

County Road 500N from county roads 25W to 50E, 600E to 700E, 800E to 1000E, crack-sealing; 300W to 400W, chip-sealing

Morristown Pike from county roads 300S to 350S, chip-sealing

The county has a road maintenance schedule it follows to decide which roads receive maintenance each year; roads are ranked based on their current condition and how much traffic the area sees each year, Pool said. Well-traveled roads typically take priority, even if other roads in the county are in worse shape.

Because highway department employees do the work, the county can invest all $2 million in materials, instead of having to set aside some of the money for independent contractors’ salaries.

The extra $500,000 in funding is expected to be pulled from the county’s food and beverage tax, which is paid by those dining at local restaurants, county council president Bill Bolander said.

Investing more money in roadwork means the county is able to ensure roads are safer for residents, he said.

“It’s good to know we’re making headway. We can’t do it all at once,” he said. “With our plan, we can make better strides than we have in the past.”

Years ago, cities and counties could rely on gas tax revenue to help fund roadwork projects, but now, there’s less of the tax to go around as cars become more fuel efficient. For example, in 2000, a Honda Civic got about 31 highway miles per gallon; in 2015, that number increased to 38, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Paving every mile of road in the county would be too costly, about $110 million, so the department uses chip and crack sealing to keep potholes from forming and to preserve roads as long as possible.

Long-term planning allows the county to keep roads on a maintenance cycle, so no particular area goes too long without repair.

Unlike the county, the city street department doesn’t have a formal street inventory. Right now, an engineering firm is working with city officials to rate each street and create a maintenance and improvement plan for all 100-some miles of city-owned roads.

Once that’s complete — the project should be complete by mid-2016 — officials will have a rolling plan, similar to the county’s, that’s updated as roads receive maintenance, street commissioner Tyler Rankins said.

Meanwhile, city crews will focus on roads in immediate need of repair. A road work plan — constituting about $345,000 worth of repairs — won’t be finalized until spring.

Will my road be repaired?

Nearly 95 miles of repairs are planned for county roads in 2016. A map detailing the road work will be posted to the county’s website, www.hancockcoingov.org, before work begins.

Paving plans include:

  • County Road 300W from county roads 100N to 200N
  • County Road 650N from county roads 400E to 500E
  • County Road 100W from county roads 350S to 400S
  • County Road 200S from county roads 100E to 150E

Other main roads scheduled for work include county roads include:

  • County Road 600W from county roads 100S to 100N, 200N to 300N, crack-sealing
  • County Road 300N from county roads 500W to 600W, 100W to 50E, crack sealing
  • County Road 500N from county roads 25W to 50E, 600E to 700E, 800E to 1000E, crack-sealing; 300W to 400W, chip-sealing
  • Morristown Pike from county roads 300S to 350S, chip-sealing

Problem road?

Greenfield and the county allow residents to submit information about problem roads in the county.

To report a pothole or other road problem outside of cities and towns, visit hancockcoingov.org/highway-department-problem-form.html.

To report a road issue in Greenfield, send an email to pothole@greenfieldin.org.

Author photo
Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.