Reader expresses highway concerns

It is insane what is not occurring within the local DOH District jurisdiction in relation to maintaining the state roadways and protecting the public safety of local residents and the visitors from other areas of the country. For example, the secondary road between Mill Creek and Helvetia is about to slide down the mountain.

I have complained to the primary responsible parties within the department prior to this in respect to a culvert failure in East Dailey. Once again, they merely applied a band-aid. That temporary fix asphalt patch has once again failed and is presenting a safety hazard. It is common sense that you cannot keep applying asphalt patches over a failed culvert underneath and expect long term success. What do they do — drop by and set down a safety cone which alerts the driver to a hazard. This gets bumped into the creek and sets the scene for yet another potential accident. My suggestion — if you cannot permanently replace the culvert and properly pave over the section, why don’t you make this a one-lane only with lighting, etc.? Multiple repairs means more expenditure of the public funds than it would have cost originally if you had simply ripped it up and replaced the culvert (sized up) to begin with. I liken this road section to that drain on US 219/250 in Beverly near the corner of Collett Street and Main Street which has a drop-off of nearly a foot and that has existed with no replacement for years now! I pity the poor non-resident who runs into this and destroys a tire and other mechanical portions of their vehicle. This safety hazard points to a potential accident scene. A simple welded drain chair would certainly eliminate this safety hazard. Surely some official in the town of Beverly has sought a replacement of this drain or have it raised to the adjacent road surface.

Have any of you citizens noted the amount of soil, etc. accumulating along our roads, filling up the drainage system and not allowing water to run to the culverts and away from the profile of the road surfacing? If not, you should, because the costs associated with damages to our public highways is increasing exponentially. And, who bears that cost? You do, in one way or another in taxes, vehicle repairs, etc. The Department of Highways has apparently taken a position that they cannot afford to maintain the proper equipment in respect to graders, etc. and cannot hire appropriate equipment operators, thus they are simply letting it deteriorate. As a result, the water is migrating under the road surfaces, saturating the road shoulder profile, running over the highway(another safety issue in freezing temperatures), pushing its way to the road surfaces.

We all view multiple DOH pickup trucks with driver only traversing the highways for whatever reason. Why not simply eliminate those personnel and equipment and replace them with new graders and properly trained operators so that the more critical road surfacing drainage systems be consistently maintained across the state?

Linked to the above suggestions would be a dire need of a thorough and comprehensive “Time and Motion Study” of some departments within the DOH. These results could equip all those in decision-making capacities with some tools to more properly manage a workforce. Perhaps it is time for the Department to be totally reorganized, cut the current workforce to two to three engineers in each District and hire a contract staff for local contracting authority in that District, contracting with private contractors for all the construction and maintenance functions. Privatizing a great portion of what the DOH performs, or doesn’t perform, may have reached its peak justification of need. Appears to me they either must restructure in some manner or levy for more taxes, a thought that may sour some palates.

Virgil Tacy Jr.