Roadwork A Funding Issue in Marshall County

The Marshall County Highway Department has a plan they hope can better maintain roads.

During Monday’s Marshall County Commissioners meeting, Highway Department Staff provided updates on this year’s road projects, including about $180-thousand spent this year that is not included in the project list.

Highway Department Administrator Laurie Baker says future information on road quality can be useful.

“By assessing the roads, doing this PASER, that we’ve taken our first step,” says Baker. “It allows us to make decisions, use our funds efficiently. It doesn’t automatically dictate the final maintenance and rehabilitation technique.”

The Pavement Surface and Evaluation Rating is beginning to play a bigger role in decision making about County roads.

During Monday’s meeting, it was learned that plans call for providing chip and seal for 11 ½ miles of roadway in Marshall County. The Highway Department said 13th Road is also prone to flooding, meaning that the Highway Department may raise the road by a couple of feet at some point in the future to prevent future flooding incidents.

Still, millions are needed in road repairs in Marshall County. Baker says it really comes down to funding.

“I don’t think our roads are very good,” says Baker. “I think we all know they’re in bad shape. But at least this puts a numerical number with it. PASER, as far as asphalt, it does show the pavement distresses and you have surface defects, surface deformation, cracks, patches, and potholes.”

To illustrate their point, the Highway Department provided a “what if” list of projects that could be completed with an additional $900-thousand in funding over the next 10 years. More than 80-percent of roads could be put in good repair.

The Marshall County Commissioners provided an endorsement to the 10-year funding plan to the County Council on Monday.