Road department makes repairs to high-priority culverts

Published 10:41 pm Monday, August 20, 2018

Beginning last year, the Road Department set out to repair 24 box culverts that were of particular importance to maintain according to County Engineer Russell Oliver.

“These had typical issues through natural erosion, degradation, vegetation and sedimentation in the wrong places,” Oliver said. “These are just normal problems that come up with drainage structures.”

One of these box culverts, one of the main bridges to Goshen, collapsed last year due to similar issues. That bridge used an outdated design no longer approved by the state, Oliver said.

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Most of the other culverts on this list were not that design, he said, but county workers needed to do maintenance on them after insufficient funds and time curbed the department’s ability to perform maintenance in years past.

“We had not been able to devote a lot of time to this,” Oliver said. “Over the years our funding has been stagnant, so we’ve had to reduce the size of our workforce through attrition and also reduce our equipment fleet. We’re down from 41 employees 10 years ago to 27 now.”

Oliver said that the downsized department has also dealt with FEMA projects over the last few years following the Christmas floods of 2014, making it difficult to find time and workers to handle this maintenance.

Only minor maintenance is required on one of the culverts on the list. Oliver said there are still many other culverts left to be looked at, but they are not as high-priority as the box culverts on the list.