Condition of roads surprises engineer
By STEPH TAHTINEN
Mt. Pleasant News
Henry County’s gravel roads are in better condition than County Engineer Bill Belzer thought they would be after the rain this last weekend.
“Despite the two inches of rain, the roads actually seemed firmer on Monday than they did on Friday,” Belzer told the board of supervisors during his weekly update on Tuesday morning.
Warm temperatures and extra moisture usually mean bad news for the county’s gravel roads as they start to thaw out in the spring, and last week Belzer told the supervisors he was worried the weekend’s weather would be a “recipe for disaster” as the roads turned to mush.
However, Tuesday morning Belzer noted that while there are gravel roads that are rutted in some areas, the major issue is the numerous potholes that are popping up.
“We’re going to have to start doing something there,” said Belzer.
Road crews are working to spot rock the potholes that are forming, and if there is sunshine and wind for a few days, Belzer said the crews will start to blade the roads.
With those two inches of rain and melting snow, the water levels in the county’s creeks and rivers have risen over the weekend.
Belzer said there were reports of water over the road near Big Creek, but by the time crews got there it had gone done.
Cedar Creek rose 15 feet in 36 hours and the Skunk River went up 12 ½ feet in 36 hours.
“That’s a lot of water,” commented Belzer.
Another issue with the Skunk River is a log jam located on the south corner of the highway bridge by Oakland Mills.
“This is just one huge logjam,” said Belzer, who noted that low water levels in the last couple of years helped to build up logs and debris which have now been moved and gathered by the high water, causing the jam.
Conservation Director John Pullis told the supervisors during his monthly update Tuesday that the jam is blocking half of the river and sending the current to the north bank.
Pullis said there is also debris starting to build up behind the dam.
In other business, the supervisors:
• Passed a resolution approving a revolving loan for $50,000 to Aviation Blvd., LLC. This loan through the Henry County Revolving Loan Fund is for 10 years with a 5 percent fixed interest rate.
• Appointed Holly Jones to the Henry County Historic Preservation Commission.