On a road northeast of Franklin, ruts from tires have formed in the road surface, and drivers feel every bump when they drive along the road.

The county has gotten complaints about the condition of County Road 300N between Hurricane Street and County Road 500E but their response is that nothing can be done until the spring.

That county road was the first on a list of about 30 to be chip-and-sealed this year, a process where crews place a thin layer of asphalt covered by finely crushed gravel to extend the life of a road. But during the work, the county’s chip spreader that places the gravel broke down. Because the county already had ordered a replacement machine prior to the breakdown, they made the decision to push the work off until next year.

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That meant the uneven layer of gravel caused by the faulty spreader couldn’t be fixed, and more than 20 miles of other roads couldn’t be done until 2018.

Now, the county is set to do double the amount of chip-and-seal projects next year, but the work should go faster because the equipment won’t constantly need to be repaired, Johnson County Highway Department Director Luke Mastin said.

In October, crews began doing chip-seal work on a section of East County Road 300N and quickly learned the machine used to evenly spread the gravel on the road wasn’t functioning properly, Mastin said.

Instead of a smooth, thin layer of gravel, the machine put down much more than intended, with one nearby resident describing the road as looking like a cooled-down lava flow.

The breakdown meant that about 20 miles of county roads where crews were going to do chip-seal work weren’t able to be done, Mastin said. Now, the county has set aside the money for chip and seal work — about $400,000 — for next year, he said.

“Rather than try to fight the equipment and have several roads with sub-par chip-seal applications, we made the decision to postpone it until the next year,” he said.

The equipment issues were ones the county was well aware of. Prior to road work beginning this year, the county had already saved up $340,000 and ordered new asphalt and chip spreading machines, Mastin said. The county has the new machines now, but will have to wait until the weather warms up before they can be used.

The issues on East County Road 300N led Kevin Harmon, who lives southeast of the area on Urmeyville Road, to take other routes when driving to Franklin.

“Part of it looks more like a lava flow than paving,” he said. “The end product isn’t level. It has grooves in it. I have a nice car that I don’t even drive on it.”

The road isn’t uneven to the point that it would damage cars, and the county took extra steps to make sure any loose gravel was removed, Mastin said.

In the spring, officials will determine what steps need to be taken to smooth out the surface of the road, he said.

At a glance

Because of issues with equipment, Johnson County put off placing a layer of chip-seal on about 20 miles of roads. The work, which was supposed to take place this fall, will instead be done in 2018. Here’s a look at the roads where chip-seal will be placed:

Needham Township

South County Road 700E: County Road 50S to Greensburg Road

County Road 150N: County Road 800E to Bridge 110

East County Road 250S: County Road 510E to Interstate 65

East County Road 300N: Franklin city limits to County Road 500E

North County Road 800E: Range Road Shelby County to County Road 175N

South Mauxferry Road in Needham and Nineveh Townships: County Road 150S to State Road 252

North County Road 425E: Hurricane Road to County Road 300N

Franklin Township

South Centerline Road: State Road 44 to County Road 100S

West County Road 300S: County Road 150W to County Road 75W

East County Road 300S: County Road 100E to County Road 200E

Hensley Township

County Road 300S: County Road 625W to County Road 775W

South County Road 625W: County Road 350S to County Road 425S

South County Road 775W: County Road 350S to Morgan County line

County Road 400S: County Road 475W to County Road 575W

West County Road 400S: County Road 475W to County Road 350W

South County Road 400W: County Road 700S to Lamb Lake

Clark Township

North Matthews Road: County Road 1000N to Rocklane Road

North County Road 500E: County Road 600N to County Road 575N

East County Road 600N: County Road 300E to Hurricane Road

East Rocklane Road: County Road 650E to County Road 700E

North County Road 700E: County Road 500N to County Road 450N

North County Road 625E: County Road 500N to dead end

North County Road 670E: County Road 600N to County Road 700E

Union Township

West County Road 150N: County Road 575W to County Road 450W

Pleasant Township

North County Road 300E: 600N to dead end

North County Road 425E: 600N to dead end

Author photo
Jacob Tellers is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at jtellers@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2702.