County reopens road after cave-in danger

Published 10:30 pm Wednesday, June 11, 2014

County engineers have reopened County Road 3319 after replacing a damaged cross drain that caved in April 14.

“The project isn’t complete,” said County Engineer Russell Oliver. “We just finished the new pavement and have a few more incidentals.”

At the April 14 commission meeting, Oliver asked commissioners to suspend rules and act on his recommendation to close the roadway as soon as possible. The caved-in drainpipe had caused one side of the road to slope.

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“The whole road is in danger of caving in,” Oliver said.

With repairs on CR 3319 nearly complete, county engineers reopened the road last week. For about eight weeks, traffic was diverted to CR 3347, a dirt road that runs from 3319, north to 3304.

Weather was at the root of the damage. An aging corrugated metal pipe gave in to the onslaught of rainwater. The City of Troy had a similar problem that recently closed George Wallace Drive.

Engineers opted for concrete replacements, saying the corrugated metal did not mix well with the area’s acidic soil.

Oliver said he replaced the pipe with another metal one. The county uses corrugated metal for most of its road projects and has had a lot of success with the less expensive option.

“Most are corrugated metal and we have some that have been in place since the 1950s,” he said.

Because the damage was caused by storms, most of the work qualified for the Emergency Watershed Program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service funds EWP projects.

Of the $74,000 it took to replace the cross drain and fix the shoulder, EWP covered $55,500, leaving the county to cover the other $18,500.

“They covered everything outside of the roadway itself,” said Oliver.

The NRCS gave the county 10 working days to complete the project. Because of the weather, engineers were granted an additional 10 days.

With the opening of CR 3319, all county roads are open to traffic. County engineers are currently working on CR 6600, which was funded by an Emergency Management Performance Grant.

During Monday’s commission meeting, commissioners Jimmy Barron and Homer Wright commended Oliver for the work completed to date. “They did a super job,” said Wright. “I hope it lasts.”