Highway Officials Dealing with Pothole Problem

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By Matthew Searcy
By Randy Livingston

WSIL -- Last year's harsh winter is a distant memory, but drivers on many roads are still reminded of it.

Engineers say potholes, cracks and crumbling pavement are a lingering problem from the cold, ice and snow.
 
"As trucks and heavy vehicles are on your roads you get some cracking and things like that," said Williamson County engineer Greg Smothers.   
 
A deep freeze, followed by a spring thaw, caused roads to expand and break.  
 
"It's just a recipe where you are going to have some potholing," explained Smothers. 
 
 It's an issue in Jefferson County as well.     
     
Highway engineer Brandon Simmons says one-third of his county's 900 miles of road need to be oil and chipped, but area townships don't have the money to provide the service.  
 
"There are these stretches where filling the potholes is not an option anymore," said Simmons. "You cannot buy enough patch and it doesn't really stay."
 
One of the Williamson County's biggest problem area is Miles Trail road, located southeast of Marion. However, repaving is too costly.  
 
"If you do three miles you have spent $600,000," said Smothers. "That's a lot of money for a local agency to come up with when their revenue sources are declining."
 
Engineers try to oil and chip each road every four to five years, but funding shortages and increasing costs could lead to more delays in maintenance.  
     
"We've got enough money to chip about 13 to 14 percent of our roads each year," said Smothers. "But that's not enough."
 
Marion Regional
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