Purdy Road District leaders upbeat about work plans

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

With major gains in 2016, FEMA projects targets by July 1

The Purdy Special Road District commissioners adopted a budget of $227,150 for 2017 and planned to continue ambitious efforts to upgrade district roads.

The budget, up from approximately $224,000 in 2016, exceeded revenue projections by approximately $10,000. However, Commissioner David Henry said the Peterbilt tractor owned by the district, which fellow commissioners agreed to sell, should bring in at least $15,000, which will go back into an equipment fund.

The road crew, led by foreman James Fuller, had surprising success during the past year using a greater quantity of hot mix with their cold mix fill, getting two tons of hot mix for the cost of one ton of cold mix. Commissioners were unhappy with the quality of cold mix they purchased at $95 a ton that would not hold in the potholes. Using more hot mix seemed to create a better seal.

During 2016, district leaders made a concentrated effort to upgrade "all the church roads," representing many of the main thoroughfares. District crews used hot mix and rolled a mile and a half of Farm Road 2090 leading from Old Highway 37, four miles of Farm Road 2070 tied into Farm Road 1065, a mile of Farm Road 2060. One mile of Farm Road was paved by Hutchens Construction as a donation, then district crews covered it with a layer of chip and seal.

A resident on Farm Road 1075 paid half the cost to have one mile resurfaced with chip and seal. The district covered the remaining cost.

Much of the southeast quadrant of the road district suffered damage in the December 2015 flooding. In 2016, FEMA paid the district $65,045.05 to make repairs by July 1, 2017. Commissioners reported they have 27 different sites needing work, including Farm Roads 1030, 1120 and 2090. District crews prepped the roads, making them passable and ready for resurfacing.

Commissioner David Henry said heavy rains will cause flooding on most roads in the district. The district lacks funds to build up roadways to prevent that. FEMA paid to have the road to Booger Hollow rebuilt after the last flood, about 10 years ago, and has it on the latest list as well.

Much of the 2017 budget remained contingent on the cost of finishing flood repairs. Fuller said many flood areas, depending on their time underwater, may have become too soft and require digging out before a rebuilt road will hold.

The only other road slated for repairs in 2017 is a mile of Farm Road 1086 from Highway C to Farm Road 2090. Crews restored the road to passibility last year and said they would return this year to finish the job.

Commissioners felt generally upbeat about the state of their roads. They saw the price of fuel as the biggest variable in the 2017 budget. They accepted a bid from Hutchens Construction to lock in a price rate on the FEMA projects, though they cut their budget for oil for chip and seal work from $4,000 to $2,000. Commissioner Rick Scott urged putting as much money onto roadways as possible.

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