Friday, October 22, 2010

grind'em up and spit'em out...

     Have you had the opportunity to run into this monster that's working its way around some of our town roads?

I caught up with it yesterday morning just west of Jewett Hill Road intersection on Calkinstown Road. The "fix our old, broken roads" project is a few weeks in and headway is obviously being made.

I believe that they started out on Swaller Hill and that's all completed. The hill from the covered bridge to the top, by Chicken-Smith road is all milled and paved. Wow! What an amazing improvement! A whole bunch of White Hollow is all milled and ready for paving. Yesterday they started at the White Hollow intersection and by 10 a.m. this morning they have done from there to town. Milling is the removal of easily an inch or more of the road surface. I think they take more from the middle than from the edges, so as to make the road more level, but I do not know for sure. The machine grinds it up, and puts it up a conveyor belt that deposits it into a leading ten-wheel dump truck, which then hauls it away. I imagine they are stock-piling the material in the valley, where it will serve the town for years as good fill for gravel roads and projects. Perhaps they will use it as shoulder material alongside some of the new asphalt, but I'm just guessing.

In all honesty, I never thought I would live long enough to see where the Town of Sharon said YES to a road project, and to really servicing a lot of our roads. But here we are, in October of 2010, and roads are being addressed. And with real hot asphalt, not some cold-mix concoction that fell apart in 2 or 3 years. Saved us money, but what did we have?

To say I am thrilled to see this would be an understatement, but I do have my concerns. I worry about was enough prep work done? Was water that needed to be routed away from roads done? Was gravel put in where there was none? Will sight lines be improved? Will drainage be improved? Did we pave over culvert pipes that should have been replaced? And most of all, are we going to have a budget in future years that allows for improvements and true maintenance, or will the road budget be pruned when this all gets finished? I pray not.

I hope the weather continues to allow the project to move along, and that they can get many of our worse-shape roads repaired before winter truly hits.

Unbelievable. I lived long enough.

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