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Repairs planned for high-traffic county roads

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An unusually harsh winter will mean that four heavily traveled Bartholomew County roads with relatively new surfaces are deteriorating faster than usual.

Flagmen will be utilized to maintain two-way traffic on one lane as cracked asphalt is repaired along 14.2 miles of pavement, Bartholomew County Engineer Danny Hollander said.

He said extensive repairs will be made this year at the following four locations:

  • County Road 550N, from U.S. 31 to Marr Road
  • East 25th Street, from Bonnell Road to State Road 9.
  • Marr Road, from County Road 300N near Haw Creek to County Road 800N.
  • Southern Crossing, from State Road 11 to U.S. 31.

While some work may get underway later this month, Hollander said Dave O’Mara Construction of North Vernon has until the end of this year’s construction season to complete the job.

Although O’Mara personnel will be allowed to set their own schedule, Hollander said the company’s $58,750 bid was roughly half of what two other companies requested in the bidding process.

Crack sealing is known to leave unattractive, wiggly streaks on the pavement, which generates occasional complaints, Hollander said.

However, the process is considerably more popular than the less-expensive chip-and-seal treatment, which is normally used only on smaller, low-volume roads, Hollander said.

The chip-and-seal process often leaves loose crushed stone on the surface, causing safety and environmental problems such as cracked windshields, loss-of-control crashes — especially for motorcyclists, bicyclists and small trucks — and clogged drainage ditches, according to the National Transportation Research Board.

Hollander said he was surprised to see so many cracks develop in these four recently paved roads over the winter.

“We hope to get more life out of asphalt than what we’re seeing here,” Hollander said. “We’re doing what we can to get the maximum life out of our pavements.”

If the cracks that developed last winter are not sealed this year, water would likely seep into the ground under the base of the road, which could result in significantly more expensive repairs and more dangerous road conditions, Hollander said.

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