As the weather begins to warm, the Daviess County Highway Department is beginning to lay out plans for roadwork this construction season.
Daviess County Highway Supervisor Chris Winkler said this year will be a little different from past years.
“We’ve done a lot of new construction on the roads over the last five years,” he said. “But we think this year we have to go back and do a lot of maintenance on our roads.”
Right now, Winkler is looking at county roads. He says there are some in the eastern part that really need work, like the CR 800 N.
“We have some in the Amish area that really need work,” Winkler said. “About 10 years ago, the CR 800 N. was one of the roads we turned from gravel to pavement. Now everything is torn from the horseshoes. A paved road with a surface of 6 inches should last more than 10 years.
He says the road is filled with ruts created by horses and buggies roaming the roads.
“Horseshoes keep crumbling,” Winkler said. “Each horseshoe has three points and it’s like 12 little chip hammers working on that sidewalk.”
Most people have noticed that gas prices hover around $4 a gallon. Much of this money however is taxes. The federal gasoline tax is $0.184 per gallon. The state tax, which provides most of the money to operate local road and street services, is 30 cents per gallon. Additional taxes such as wheel taxes and buggy plates are also part of Daviess County road funding.
County officials have spent years looking for answers to the horse problem.
“I don’t know what the answers will be,” Winkler said. “I haven’t made my list, but 800 N. is a road that will have to do something. We’ll probably have to groove it on horseback. This means that we will probably have to cut out the damaged sections about 3 feet wide in each lane and put new bitumen on them.
One place where the county may be able to save money on repairs could be with asphalt. Daviess is one of two counties in Indiana that has its own asphalt plant. After a series of repairs, Winkler says he wants the plant to run longer and produce more asphalt than ever before to help repair the roads.
“Soon after we got the asphalt plant, we focused on building new roads, so we didn’t use the plant as much as we could,” he said. “This year I want to keep it going for two solid months. Sometimes your funds for materials dictate how long you can keep it running. At the moment we plan to turn it on and not turn it off until fall.
Winkler points out that an added benefit of having an asphalt plant on County Road is that it puts the county in charge.
“We have full control over it,” Winkler said. “Having to go through Washington to get pavement takes time. You have stop signs and traffic. We are wasting a lot of time. Sometimes we are left out. »
Winkler still wants the highway department to be aggressive in repairing and improving roads this summer.
“I think at a minimum we’ll fix about 20 miles of road,” he said. “It could be 30 miles.”