Old U.S. 11 overlay work should resume soon

Published 11:53 pm Saturday, March 8, 2008

An overlay project on Old U.S. 11 has been in limbo for about a year, but the work is said to be about resume in the coming month.

After beginning the overlay work more than a year ago, the county has not finished the road work, leaving residents wondering what the hold up is.

County resident Elton Wylde, has been dealing with the current state of the road for about a year. He said he has called District V Supervisor Sandy Kane Smith to ask about the work, but has not received a satisfactory response.

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“When you start a job, you finish it,” Wylde said.

Currently the road is missing large sections of asphalt with only red clay showing in some areas and, at best, gravel in others.

“If you don’t know the road and you hit these pot holes they’re going to ruin your car,” Wylde said.

Another resident, Ron Addington, said that since Smith came into office the gravel added to the road has made it a little more passable. However, the biggest problem involves the 4×4 vehicles that tear through the road, destroying it.

“The four-wheel drive trucks are a real issue out here,” Addington said.

Smith said he has also noticed that ever since red clay was added to the road to create a shoulder, local 4x4s and ATVs have been tearing it up. The Sheriff’s Department has been informed of the problem and will be looking for violators to whom they deputies will issue citations and fines.

“It’s not a mud bog for them,” Smith said.

The Sheriff’s Department has been cooperative with trying to get the parties responsible for tearing up the road, Addington said.

With the overlay project taking as long as it has, residents are concerned if the job is too big for county workers and should have been bid out. Addington, said work on that road began in February of 2007 and still is not complete.

County Road Manager Mike Mitchell said bidding out the project is not cost effective. With only $300,000 in the county budget to do road work this year, bidding the project out would have used up the budget and then some. He estimates that the cost would have been about $500,000 to bid out the project. It will cost the county, using DBST instead of asphalt, $89,000 to do the job, Mitchell said.

“We do what we can with what we have,” Mitchell said.

A new paver was purchased by the county last year, but work on the road has yet to begin due to adverse weather conditions, Mitchell said. He said work on the road should resume within the next three to four weeks.

The overlay project involves recycling the old pavement, moving the road four feet closer to the adjacent rail road tracks and widening the road by an additional two feet. The additional two feet will bring that road from 18 feet wide to 20 feet wide.

The existing asphalt will be recycled using a rented reclaimer machine. That recycled asphalt will be combined with six inches of clay gravel, about 12,000 yards worth, to make a base for the new road.

“I didn’t want to go in there and grind it up and it rain,” Mitchell said. “I’m trying to wait until the weather breaks to get started on it. I know it’s been an inconvenience for some of the residents as far as riding down a good, smooth road, but when we get done with it they’ll have something to be proud of.”

Overlay of the road will involve applying two layers of mat rock, or lime stone.

Once the job begins it should take about eight to ten weeks to finish, Mitchell said.

Smith said once the paving work is complete then the road crew will dig out the ditches to provide drainage. He said while the project was inherited when he took office, it is one of his top priorities.

Mitchell said the work is part of the road’s regular maintenance and not involved with the new development, Big Sky, nearby.

Some upcoming work, residents of the county should be aware of, involves installing a new culvert at an entrance to the Anchor Lake community. At the entrance with the anchor at the front, best known as Lakeside Drive, workers plan to change out a cross drain pipe on Monday morning.

If the weather permits, the work should be complete by the end of that day, Mitchell said. Residents of the community should take the second entrance while the 72-inch culvert is installed.