2010 has come in on a rather wet note with two significant snowfalls nearly back to back in the area. With as much as 19 inches total snow in some areas, the ground saturation has led to some horrible road conditions after the thaw that has finally nearly cleared the ground of the white stuff, replacing it with soggy brown mud. However, car washes in the area are sure to benefit from the snowfalls.
County judges in Sharp, Fulton, Izard and Oregon County all agree that although the costs associated with these storms is high, the cost of repairing the gravel roads after the thaw will be much more of an expense.
Sharp County Judge Larry Brown said the county is still within their budget. Brown said the county is very large and they have nine graders working with some labor being utilized on weekends. He said, "The real issue is when the roads thaw and we have to begin buying gravel."
Izard County Judge Rayburn Finley said, "If we keep going like this we will be out of money before half the year is over." Finley said the 1,300 to 1,500 miles of roads in the county that need work are responsible for the expenses. He said some of the expenses include extra labor, grader blades which are extremely expensive and extra fuel required to run the machinery. He said there is also pavement coming loose that will require repairs. Finley said, "As much moisture as we're having, I am afraid it will be the worst we've ever seen."
In Fulton County, Judge Charles Willett said his county has spent an extra $20,000 or so on these past two snow storms. He said the majority of the expenses include salt, materials, extra fuel and, of course, overtime pay for the operators of the heavy equipment required to clear and repair the roads in Fulton County. He said after the thaw, he expects the fall ins and chug holes in Fulton County, and could cost up to $100,000 on the approximately 596 miles of paved roads in the county and over 1,800 in gravel roads.
With weather forecasts predicting more snow for the beginning and end of the week in the area, this is all but good news for those in charge of the roads in their counties.