Released by Smith County:
SMITH COUNTY - The Smith County Road and Bridge Department completed 5,484 work orders in Fiscal Year 2016.
Road and Bridge employees worked tirelessly throughout much of the winter and spring, clearing downed trees and repairing roads and culverts damaged by heavy rains and tornadoes.
Because of severe weather throughout the spring, road construction done by county employees did not begin until July. Their work, along with projects done by contractors, included rebuilding 15.5 miles of road with oil dirt or pug mill material; 3.15 miles of asphalt overlay; and 14.68 miles of road reconstruction. The 33.33 miles of road improvements was done in an 11-month span, from October 2015 through August 2016, Smith County Engineer Frank Davis reported. The end of the Fiscal Year is Friday, September 30.
The Road and Bridge Department also replaced 702 signs, of which 83 were vandalized. The cost of the vandalized signs was $6,193.
Davis gave his yearly report, as well as a presentation on his plans for Fiscal Year 2017, during Commissioners Court on Tuesday.
His "Road Improvement Work Plan" includes more projects than he has budgeted for, allowing Davis some leeway in which projects are done throughout the year. The work plan must be flexible to also allow for road projects to be added if conditions warrant it.
It includes improvements to 82.37 miles of road for $5,850,904. The Road and Bridge Department has $5.1 million available, Davis reported.
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.
An estimated 23.74 miles (12 sections of road) are scheduled for contract surface treatment for $661,863.
Reconstruction work to be performed by contractors, such as asphalt overlays, road base reconstruction and stabilization and roadway widening, will include 18.35 miles and cost about $3,445,000, Davis said.
One of the larger projects will be the widening of County Road 1261, or Big Eddy Road, from Farm-to-Market Road 2661 to Highway 155. The 2.63-mile section of road will be widened by an average of 4 feet, to a final width of 26 feet, and then overlaid. The project is estimated to cost $990,000.
"This roadway carries a large amount of traffic and serves as a connector between FM 2661 and Highway 155," Davis said.
It will also allow them to plan for the future. A bridge on County Road 1113, or Lake Placid Road, is scheduled to be replaced within the next few years, requiring that road to be closed during that time. Improving Big Eddy Road will help serve added traffic during that project.
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.