BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
The Greene County Republican Party on Monday evening heard from Greene County Road Superintendent David Weems, who described the role of the Greene County Road Department in paving, bushhogging, and maintaining bridges and road signs.
He noted that there are thousands of bridges and culverts that the department maintains.
Replacement of road signs also keeps the department busy, Weems said, noting that new requirements have signs being slowly replaced with larger, more reflective versions that are quite costly.
Roadway sign thefts are also common, he added, noting that one sign on the Old Baileyton Road was stolen five times in two weeks.
The department also maintains the county's 1,200 miles of road, which include 700 miles of asphalt, 495 miles of chip-seal, and some gravel roads in the mountain areas.
The lifespan of asphalt is about 20 years, while chip-seal roads last only between 8 and 9 years, he said.
"That's a big challenge for us to try to maintain these chip-seal roads and keep up the asphalt," Weems said.
Most years, the department averages paving between 10-12 miles of asphalt and 15-20 miles of chip sealing, he said.
With the aid of a road bond and the new county asphalt plant, the department paved with asphalt 44 miles of road last year, the superintendent added.
He estimated savings from the plant at $1.2 million.
Weems also said that the department is adding some sand to the mix to aid in safety and traction on certain roadways and hopes to pave another 40-50 miles in the coming year.
State Aid projects that include special state funding for safety improvements and repaving to roads that connect to state highways will include the following in the coming year, he said: the lower end of the Blue Springs Parkway, Chuckey Highway, Greystone Road, Cedar Creek Road and West Allens Bridge Road.
GOP Chairman Brett Purgason praised Weems for his efforts with the Road Department during the April 2011 tornadoes.
"David was one of those people I saw every day working hard out there," Purgason said.
Purgason concluded the meeting with a call for members to recruit others to join the meetings and begin preparing for the 2014 elections.