Friday, November 27, 2015

Funding And Limited Manpower Set Back Road Construction
By Amanda Wade

Vickery Road is one of the busiest unpaved roads in Butler County according to the County Engineer, but making that road a blacktop is taking quite a bit longer than expected, leaving both residents and the road department frustrated.  

Vickery Road residents continue to drive their cars through mud because their dirt road has been under construction for nearly 17 months. One resident says the construction is causing problems with debris, the mail service, and especially rainy weather.
"It's a nightmare. Every time it rains you've got to drive two or three miles per hour. You can typically go through the woods easier than you can get up and down the roads," says Ronnie Whitman, who lives on Vickery Road. 
But he's not the only one frustrated. Dennis McCall, the county engineer, says taking on a project like this one is difficult with lack of funding and manpower. 
"The challenge with this is your talking about nearly a million dollars worth of work, okay, from start to finish," says McCall.
And even with a $335,000 Community Block Grant, he says the county has to absorb the rest of the construction cost making it necessary for county workers to do construction before contracting out the paving to save money. 
McCall also says, "In this work we're doing in kind, we're doing it with limited equipment, limited personnel, and trying to do it in conjunction with our on going, day to day operations." 
Lawrence Watkins, a Vickery Road resident who also worked as a contractor, says he is frustrated too, but not with the engineers. He says the weather has been the biggest set back, "When you're working outdoors, you've got to get along with mother nature, as the old saying goes."
The county engineer says they are nearing the end of county construction on the road with the final steps being relocating and upgrading water lines which will also give residents better fire protection. They hope paving can begin in the Spring.