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State releases paving assistance list, but local leaders have questions

The Georgia Department of Transportation recently announced that Local Assistance Road Program funds would be used to resurface two roads in McDuffie County.

But that may not be what county officials were hoping for.

The DOT approved 0.76 miles of Dearing Acres Road and 3.51 miles of Moose Club Road to be resurfaced by September of 2005. The money coming from the state is not the problem for local officials, but the way in which it will be applied could be causing McDuffie County to balk at the project.

LARP funds are used to resurface county roads across the state. This year's roads in McDuffie County are slated for surface treatment instead of hot mix or paving. Past problems with that type of resurfacing caused County Commission Chair Charlie Newton to make inquiries into the process at the state level.

"They think we'll have a better road if we go with triple surface treatment rather than hot mix," Mr. Newton said. "I'm still looking into that to see which way we want to go."

Surface treatment consists of spraying asphalt cement onto the road and then putting down a layer of rocks. According to DOT District Two Engineer Mike Thomas, the decision was an engineering one because some roads benefit more from surface treatment than repaving.

"When a road reaches a certain point as far as cracking and that sort of thing, surface treatment actually does a better job on it than hot mix," he said. "If it's got large cracks, that (asphalt cement) will seal those cracks and the rocks actually stabilize the road."

Mr. Thomas added that the hot mix used by the DOT is fairly thin. He said if a road were cracked underneath, the new pavement would look good to start with but would soon reflect the cracks.

Cautionary procedures have been added to the surface treatment process, according to Mr. Thomas. The roadway is now rolled and swept twice before the process is complete.

"Surface treatment in past years has had a bad reputation because of loose rock," Mr. Thomas said. "They have really fine tuned that due to the number of complaints they get about broken windshields, loose rock and that sort of thing."

But McDuffie County officials aren't fully convinced. According to Mr. Newton, State Representative Sistie Hudson has contacted the head of the DOT to find out what the county's options are. A decision should be made by the next County Commission meeting on Sept. 21.

"There's a lot of variables still left open right now," Mr. Newton said. "I don't know if we can afford to reject that mileage if we're just going to lose it. That's a lot of money."

The most recent LARP projects in McDuffie County were Harris Street in Dearing and Shadowmoor Circle and Wilson Street in Thomson. Work on those resurfacing projects began in May of this year, according to Vonda Everett, with DOT District two communications.

Also, last month McDuffie County provided the DOT with a list of LARP eligible roads for the following year, Ms. Everett said.



Web posted on Thursday, September 16, 2004


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