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Damaged roads repaired

Oct. 11, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

IRONTON -- After experiencing more than 150 landslides last year, Lawrence County Engineer Doug Cade knew it would take months to get the mess cleaned up and the roads repaired.

"This was a huge disaster," Cade said earlier this week. "The damages (amounted to) the third or fourth worst in the state. We normally have 41 inches of rain per year, but that year we had more than 70 inches of rain."

That rain led to landslides on a number of county roads. This week, sections of County Road 2, County Road 4 and County Road 8 were closed for landslide repairs. Some of the roads will be closed for up to 45 days. "We have some major slips to deal with," he said.

"We've gotten to about 70 percent of them," Cade said. If all goes well, the repairs will be finished by next spring, he said. "I'm extremely happy with what we've been able to get done so far. We could not have done it without state and federal assistance."

The county only gets $4.3 million per year in gasoline sales tax funds to blacktop and repair county roads. "That $4.3 million hasn't increased since 2006," he said. "With gas prices up and fuel-efficient cars, the amount of gas sales has been fairly constant."

Cade worked to get an emergency declaration and get Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to help make repairs. The declaration provides 75 percent of the money for the repairs. The state and the county split the remaining 25 percent of the costs, he said.

A section of County Road 15, Buffalo Creek Road, will be closed starting Oct. 19 for repairs. The work is expected to take about 45 days. "It's a very difficult slip repair," he said.

"We still have some landslide repair work to be done, but we also have 60 to 70 bridges that need repairs," Cade said.

One of the biggest slips still to be done is a section of County Road 6, he said.

"It will take about $700,000 to make the needed repairs," Cade said. "It's more than 500 feet long. We're still doing the engineering work on it. We hope to get it out for bid by the end of the year."