New county road repair process is a money saver

New road repair process Page 10

Wicomico Roads Division crews have saved the county $10,000 per day using the department’s new Chip Spreader to apply bituminous surface treatment, also known as tar and chip, to county roads.

According to Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt and the Department of Public Works, approximately 7.5 miles of roads were recently resurfaced by crew members who received training on the proper use of the computer-controlled Chip Spreader purchased in August 2013. The additional pieces needed for the process were acquired this summer.

“Having this type of operation at our disposal allows Public Works to service our road network at a level we have not seen in years,” said Public Works Director Lee Beauchamp.

“By doing this type of work with county staff and equipment, we can do a complete road treatment in a timely manner and improved quality control with fewer dollars spent,” he said. “This is a real win-win for Public Works and the citizens of Wicomico County.”

The Department of Public Works – Road Division resurfaced the following roads:

Spearin Road

Layfield Road

Mount Olive Road

Long Ridge Road

Seymore Road

The first part of the tar and chip process, the application of liquid tar, was outsourced. However, the department took over from there, applying crushed chip stone using the spreader box attached to the dump truck transporting the gravel.

The stone adheres to the hot liquid tar and finally a roller is used to embed the stone into the tar. In a few weeks, once the application is cured, a crew will come back and sweep away the excess stone.

“Many of the nearly 100 miles of roads resurfaced this year were on the list back in 2008 when we lost our State Highway User Revenue,” said Pollitt. “In light of the county’s loss of that revenue, we have had to be creative and come up with smarter, more effective ways to maintain our roads system, relying more on local resources.”

He added: “Our strategy is to build a Department of Public Works that can do more with less while maintaining safe roads for travelers. This is a big step in that direction.”

Beauchamp said that by taking over the chip application portion of the process, the department was able to save the county 44 cents per square yard per day – a total savings of $40,000 vs. contracting out services.

Beauchamp is currently weighing the purchase of a tar distributor truck to render the Department truly self-sufficient, with all work performed in-house by county employees.

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