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story.lead_photo.caption Jay Frasier, Benton County's public services administrator who oversees the Road Department, is shown in the foreground of the file photo. - Photo by Keith Bryant

BENTONVILLE -- Benton County plans to pave 49 miles of road this year and make a concerted effort to improve unpaved roads, which has not always been the case, officials said.

"My budget has X amount of dollars for asphalt," said Jay Frasier, the county's public services administrator who oversees the Road Department. "Once that's done, I'm not going to ask for more money for asphalt. We're going to switch over and work on some of these dirt roads that need maintenance."

Road work

Benton County has eight road paving projects that were planned for 2017, but not done, included in the county’s 2018 plan. Those projects are: Summer Shade Road, Olive Lane, Falls Hollow Road, Autumn Run Road, Walters Road, Smith Ridge Road, Woods Lodge Road and Guyll Ridge Road.

Source: Benton County

Frasier said the county's 2018 road plan includes eight projects from the 2017 plan. He said the April flooding set the county back, but those unfinished projects should be first on the list for this year. The Road Department's plan focuses on maintaining existing roads, with both paved and unpaved roads targeted.

Officials developed the plan using information gathered in a video survey of the county's paved roads done early in 2017. The survey showed most of the 800 miles of paved roads are in fair to excellent condition, according to a report made to the Quorum Court. The county also has about 1,100 miles of unpaved roads.

County Judge Barry Moehring wanted the survey to provide more of a "data-driven" road plan. Some modifications were made to the road plan in 2017 based on the results.

Frasier said the technology has improved the department's decision-making.

"The main key to how we're making our decisions now is we don't have to physically drive the roads ourselves," he said. "We can sit here 'in-house' and drive these roads on the server."

The county hired GreenbergFarrow to have paved roads surveyed and listed in one of six categories ranging from excellent, or roads requiring no work, to reconstruct, meaning roads requiring full-depth reconstruction of the pavement. Other conditions, from best to worst, are: good, fair, critical and lost. The categories will be assigned a color, and video of the road and satellite maps of the county will show each segment of road according to the pavement's condition.

GreenbergFarrow is headquartered in Atlanta and has a Bentonville office. The work done by the company cost about $65,500.

According to its report, 2.8 percent of the roads are in excellent condition while 51.3 percent are in good condition. Another 31.7 percent are in fair condition. The summary showed 10.3 percent of the paved roads in critical condition and 3.9 percent were considered lost.

Moehring said the survey information helps him answer questions from residents about their roads. Moehring said he became interested in a paving assessment program after hearing of it from other elected officials, including Bella Vista Mayor Peter Christie. Christie said his city is basing its road work plans on an assessment done in 2015.

"We know we're making progress because we can see it," Christie said. "Also, the feedback we've gotten from our residents has been very positive."

Pat Adams, justice of the peace for District 6 and chairman of the county's Transportation Committee, said he was skeptical about the survey at first.

"I know there are a lot of people out there who are disappointed because they say they've been promised for years that their road was going to be paved," Adams said. "But Barry took a different course. He decided we were going to base the road plan on the actual needs, where in the past, it's been 'The squeaky wheel gets the grease' kind of approach."

NW News on 01/01/2018

Print Headline: County plans road repair work

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