Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Attention Goes to Athens County "Pothole Problem"

By Juli Schilling

How many times a day do you dodge a pothole while driving? Many Athens County residents say the area is notorious for its "pothole problem", but many residents don't know where to turn to when it comes to fixing it. The Athens County road system is divided into four sectors: county roads, state highways, township roads and city roads. Each sector has a different department and contact person. Most road engineers say that if they get a complaint, they'll try to fix it as fast as possible.

County Roads
Athens County Engineer Archie Stanley and Deputy Engineer Mike Canterbury employ about twenty workers a day to maintain county roads. The county system covers about 370 miles of road.

If you live on a county road and you have a pothole problem, you'll need to contact someone at the County Engineer's Office or go to its web site and fill out a road problem reporting form. Mike Canterbury oversees the road maintenance crews and manages the county road web site. He says that the problem will be looked at and most likely fixed within 48 hours of reporting it. More often than not, it will actually be fixed within 24 hours.

So what is used to combat the nasty potholes in Athens County?

"This time of the year when potholes do develop, we use what's called cold-mix. It's something that's adaptable to colder weather, which will tide us over until when spring and summer come along," said Engineer John Branner who works for the County Engineer's Office. He says the Engineer's Office has moved from a reactive to a proactive approach when it comes to pothole filling.

Engineer John Branner talks about the proactive pothole approach

The Crown
The biggest reason that potholes are formed is because of improper water drainage from the roads. Improper drainage happens when there's not a properly formed "crown" in the road's construction. A crown should be the place in the center of the road where the road is raised slighty, usually only by half an inch. The purpose of the crown is to elevate the center of the road slightly so water can run off onto the sides of the road. If constructed properly, it should prevent flooding and many potholes.

The County Engineer's new office, located on Canaanville Road, is expected to be completed this March.

City Roads
The Athens City Street Department oversees Athens City roads. Andrew Stone is the department's director. The department sends about four to five workers for street repairs daily. However, there are about 21 total employees. The department has definitely seen an increase in pothole problems this year. In order to fill out a pothole reporting form, go to the Athens City web site.

State Highways
The Ohio Department of Transportation maintains state highways that run through Athens County. There are four distinct highway systems that run through the state of Ohio. Probably the most commonly traveled highway in Athens County is Route 50.

Township Roads
There are more than a dozen townships in Athens County. To report a pothole or road problem in a township, people need to contact their designated township trustees.

Paying for Pothole Damage
Too often, Athens County Residents have to visit the mechanic's garage. Many times, it's for a re-alignment because of hitting a pothole. Potholes can cause all sorts of damage to your car, so what do you do?

Appalachian Tire's mechanic Justin Lapp says that the best thing you can do is just try to avoid potholes, but this also can be very dangerous. However, it may be worth it to avoid the damage a pothole can do to your car.

"It can cost $30 for a tire to $200 for a strip job. It can be pretty pricey in the long run," Lapp said. But also, you don't want to be swerving all over the road, he said.

Quick Contacts:

Athens County Roads
Director: Archie Stanley
16000 Canaanville Hills Road
Athens, OH 45701
740-593-5514 phone

Athens City Street Department
Director: Andrew Stone
387 W. State Street
Athens, OH 45701
740-592-3343 phone
740-593-6005 fax

Ohio Department of Transportation
District 10 Mike Biggs
338 Muskingum Drive
Marietta, Ohio, USA, 45750
740-373-0212 phone
740-373-7317 fax

Contact your township trustees to report a pothole or other road problems.
Athens County Townships

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