More than 80 miles of Smith County roads were improved during Fiscal Year 2017, according to the 2017 Smith County Road Report, released last week.
During Commissioners Court on Tuesday, Nov. 7, Smith County Engineer Frank Davis presented his annual report, detailing the work completed by the Road and Bridge Department in the last year.
Contract crews are nearly complete with major construction projects on more than 9.5 miles of road, while only 8.16 miles were expected for Fiscal Year 2017. This work included asphalt overlays, road base reconstruction and stabilization, and roadway widening.
The two projects nearing completion within the next couple of weeks total 4.768 miles -- Big Eddy Road (CR 1261), and CR 2328 (Deerwood Estates).
Big Eddy Road was widened from Farm-to-Market Road 2661 to Highway 155. The 2.63-mile section of road was widened by an average of 4 feet, to a final width of 26 feet, and then overlaid.
“This roadway carries a large amount of traffic and serves as a connector between FM 2661 and Highway 155,” Davis said.
Major construction projects completed this year included improvements to CR 149 (New England Road), and CR 2221 (East Shore Estates - West), for a total of 4.784 miles, he said.
“We exceeded the mileage of roadwork done for the county last year,” Davis said.
Hiring contractors to do some of the Smith County road projects allows Road and Bridge crews more resources and time to maintain all county roads, Davis said.
Davis reported that 22.073 miles of road were improved with hot mix overlay, which exceeded the 20 miles of roads proposed at the beginning of the year. Roads that have been improved with hot mix overlay include CR 498, 1135 (Patton), 1144 (Eisenhower), and 1314.
Surface treatment improvements were made to 36 miles of road, while only 23.8 miles were proposed, Davis said. Examples of seal coat work were CR 384, 178 and 46.
Although 29.76 miles of roads were expected for oil dirt rebuild work, only 12.5 miles were completed because of excessive rain during the summer months. Oil dirt roadwork must be conducted in dry conditions and warmer weather, he said.
“Frank, we appreciate the job you’re doing,” County Judge Nathaniel Moran said after Davis gave his report during Commissioners Court. “Your report shows we are exceeding expectations, and continuing to be good stewards of citizens’ tax payer moneys. Continue the good work.”
The Road and Bridge Department completed 5,240 total work orders in Fiscal Year 2017, including patching/blade patching, ditch cleaning, clearing downed trees and limbs, replacing culverts and bridge repairs. The department received 189 after-hour calls.
Smith County has more than 1,168 miles of road. Selecting which road projects need to be done is based on the road usage, type of traffic, traffic volume, pavement type and pavement condition index, Davis said. The pavement condition index was determined through a road study conducted in 2015.
The Road and Bridge Department had $2,350,000 in the FY 2017 Road and Bridge Budget for road improvements and maintenance. The Road and Bridge Department also had $4 million in Special Project Road Funds, taken out of the county’s general fund.
Davis said they have mowing crews that start in May to mow all areas of the county twice a year. Because of excessive rains during June through August, they have not finished mowing yet.
For more information about the annual Smith County Road Report, visit www.smith-county.com.