Road work

Jarrett Simpson and Stan Jones both of Atlas Asphalt Company, work to transfer asphalt from a tanker truck to the asphalt sprayer. The final step of road work repair began Tuesday morning on Roger’s Chapel Road.

JONESBORO — Members of the Craighead County Quorum Court learned how pavement management is saving taxpayer dollars during Monday night’s meeting.

Darryl Gardner, a representative of Conway-based business FirstStep Pavement Management, was on hand to present how a different type of treatment for severely cracked and damaged county roads can be a cost-saving solution.

“My main mission is to get people away from a worst first mentality,” Gardner said. Being more proactive in maintaining county roads is the ultimate goal, Gardner said, along with being educated on repair options.

“We need to have good treatments, and we need metrics in place to see if we are doing a good job managing our road networks,” he said.

Gardner said the first step in the pavement management process was to check the roads themselves. The company achieved that by driving 222 miles of paved county roads and filming every road. They reviewed the footage and then mapped out what condition the roads were in.

Once the mapping was complete, Gardner said they were able to identify that 17.5 percent of the roads were considered to be in critical condition.

“This tells us we have a lot of projects to choose from,” he said.

Craighead County Judge Marvin Day said that was the equivalent of 40 miles of critical roadways in the county.

Roadway repair is already underway and the county opted to use the rejuvenating mass crack treatment repair and a fog seal, which, according to Day costs the county five times less than a traditional asphalt overlay of the road.

One of those roads that needed repair was Rogers Chapel Road, which leads to Nestle and other industries. Gardner explained the more heavily traveled the road the quicker the disrepair occurs, such as potholes and cracks. The second phase of repairs began Tuesday.

Day said opting to use that treatment was an effort to be efficient with taxpayers’ money. The crack treatment should last a minimum of five to seven years, Gardner said.

The county’s transportation, public safety finance committees also met Monday night.

Eugene Neff, road superintendent, told transportation committee members the mitigation box culverts will be ready this week, and road crews will begin the installation. During the last quorum court meeting, JPs approved adding grant funding to the budget that was allotted to buy new box culverts. Neff said they will begin the project on County Road 320.

The public safety committee also met and approved two resolutions, one to appoint Kathy Buchanan to the Craighead County Nursing Board, and another to appoint Jeremy Holler to the Bono Fire Protection Board.

During the finance committee meeting, Craighead County Treasurer Terry McNatt told committee members the county was sitting strong financially. The balance in the county general fund was at $2,473,700.24 as of Sept. 30.

“There are only a few categories we are short on, but that’s because of COVID,” McNatt said. “We are about $21,000 behind the revenue we had last year.”

McNatt said the county is benefitting from the new online sales tax. So far it has generated $78,000 in revenue for the county since it was implemented.