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County roads get ‘D’ rating, receive more repair funds

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By Phyllis McLaughlin

Officials from the state Transportation Cabinet met with Carroll County Fiscal Court last week to outline plans for the county’s allotment from the Rural Secondary Road fund.

The 2013-14 allotment for Carroll County is $680,663, including $68,066 in “flexible” funds, which the county can spend as it sees fit.

Rob Hans, chief engineer for KYTC District 6, which includes Carroll and 10 other Northern Kentucky counties, said the formula used to determine how much of the rural road funding could be used by the county was changed this year. Flex funds range from 20 percent of the allotment to 10 percent, based on the overall condition of each county’s rural highways.

Counties that earn a “B” for rural highways in fair or good condition would get 20 percent; counties earning a “C” for the condition of those roads would get 15 percent, and counties with rural highways in poor overall condition would earn a “D” and receive only 10 percent of the allotment as flex funds, Hans said, adding that Carroll’s rural highways fell into the “D” category.

Traditionally, fiscal court has opted to allow District 6 to use the county’s flex funds. Hans suggested the court do that again this year, and the magistrates agreed.

With the money, which becomes available at the beginning of the fiscal year July 1, the state plans to resurface the entire length of Dividing Ridge Road from Hwy. 36 East to Hwy. 47, a total of 3.51 miles.

“Dividing Ridge is, by far, the worst road in the county,” Hans said. “It’s rutted and in terrible condition; we will fully repave it.” The project also will include edge and center striping. He said the total cost of the project was set at $296,419.

The next project will be resurfacing nearly 1.7 miles of Locust Road (Hwy. 1492), from Hunters Heights Road to East Prong Locust Road, plus another 1.3 miles from East Prong to Hwy. 36. Total cost of those projects is estimated at $158,229.

Hans said during the closure of Hwy. 36 West for the replacement of the Locust Creek bridge, the state will keep an eye on the condition of the road, which they expect will see additional traffic as local drivers use it as a detour between Carrollton and Milton.

“That road is going to get destroyed,” Hans predicted. “It’s already in poor condition.”

KYTC officials originally will close Hwy. 36 at Locust Creek beginning Monday, March 11. The closure a week as other work at the site took place. The road closure is expected to last 90 days.

Hans said he doubted if any in-place patching could be done on Locust in the meantime. “So far this year, 74 percent of our maintenance budget is already spent. We should be at 58 percent,” he said.

But, Hans added, “as the bridge project is ongoing, we will continue to maintain Locust and fix any issues that arise,” and along any other of the state’s secondary roads used as detour routes. “We will attempt to repair anything that is a direct result of the bridge project.”

Hans said that he would also look into installing weight limit signs at the intersections of state highways and county roads to discourage large-truck traffic from using the narrow, winding local roads. While he admitted the signs likely won’t stop all large vehicles from using the county roads, “it would probably help,” he said.

With the county’s flex funds added back in, Hans said the district will be able to resurface 0.73 miles of Mill Creek Road from the Trimble County line to the bridge at Tom Town Road. That project is expected to cost $43,670.

If more funding becomes available, or bids come in lower than expected, Hans said the district would resurface an additional 0.8 miles of Mill Creek Road for $58,599.

Hans said his department also would look into other road issues brought up by magistrates during the meeting, including a completed culvert-replacement on Hwy. 47, the railroad crossing on Hwy. 227 and the edges along the bridge on Hwy. 389 outside of English.

Hans said the process of transferring the state’s road barn property at Gap Hill on Hwy. 227 is nearly completed. He said the paperwork should be processed within six to eight weeks, but added it may take the department a bit longer than that to remove all the equipment.

“Everything is moving forward,” he said.