County plans to pave 29 miles of rural roads

Bartholomew County government leaders plan to put a new layer of asphalt on 29 miles of rural roads this year, 5 miles fewer than last year’s record-setting distance.

But if state officials don’t approve a matching grant late this summer, the county will instead blacktop about 17 miles of roads during the annual overlay project, Bartholomew County Highway engineer Danny Hollander said.

While bids for this year’s 44 separate projects are scheduled to be opened May 30, contractors are traditionally given the entire construction season to get the work done as their schedule allows, Hollander said.

Most contractors submit lower-than-normal bids with that stipulation, which allows them to complete more lucrative private or corporate contracts first, Hollander said.

The Bartholomew County Highway Department has a preliminary goal of performing chip-and-seal repairs to an additional 90 miles of roads, Hollander said.

“But we probably won’t be able to do all of those, either, due to time and money constraints,” the highway engineer said.

For more on this story, including the areas to be paved, see Wednesday’s Republic.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.