Driving on local roads could get a little smoother in the next two years because of an increase in funding for paving and patching streets.
Local governments will get about $4 million more for road construction in the next two years after lawmakers approved spending more on local road work in the state’s two-year budget.
The money will be divided among the towns and county government, ranging from about $9,000 per year for Trafalgar to about $900,000 more for the county. The extra money will be used to repave roads and seal cracks to try to stop new potholes from forming during the winter.
Franklin received $582,533 from the state in 2012. In 2014 and 2015, that number will go up by about $200,000.
The money will not be enough to fund any major road construction projects. For example, the lowest bid the city received for repaving and reconstructing a one-mile stretch of Hurricane Road was $252,000, Mayor Joe McGuinness said. That extra money from the state will not fund that project.
But the extra money should be enough for work on neighborhood streets that need repaving or crack sealing, he said.
The city rates roads on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the best possible condition and one meaning the road can’t be driven on.
City officials will begin to re-examine the roads that scored below a four, such as the rest of Hurricane Road, and determine which need repaving the most. The only road in Franklin with a score of 10 was North Main Street, which was reconstructed and repaved this month.
The extra money also will pay to seal cracks on some streets that scored from a five to seven to prevent them from getting worse, McGuinness said. The sealing process prevents water from getting into cracks in pavement and freezing there during the winter, he said. Potholes are formed when the water expands.
“If they’re at a seven, we want to keep them there as long as possible,” he said.
The county government and city of Greenwood also will look at the scores given to streets when determining which should be repaved with the additional money.
Greenwood will have about $400,000 more each year to spend on roads than it did in 2012, when its budget was about $1.2 million.
The city has a 98-page document that rates and lists all the roads that need work, community development services director Mark Richards said.
The ratings are from last year. In the next few months, city workers will go out to the roads again and look for any changes in conditions then make recommendations for which need immediate attention, he said.
The county government will get about $900,000 more in 2014 than in 2012, when the state gave it $2.5 million. The additional money will pave poorly rated roads and buy one or two new trucks for the highway department, director Luke Mastin said.
The department has held off purchasing new equipment and vehicles for a few years, and the trucks used for plowing and summer outdoor maintenance need to be replaced, he said.
The money will be enough to buy the trucks and pay for road paving and chip sealing, he said. Paving a mile of road costs about $65,000 to $70,000, so the county should be able to significantly expand next year’s summer road paving project, he said.