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Roadside mud bogging costs Putnam thousands

June 04, 2020 - 06:00
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  • Roadside mud bogging costs Putnam thousands
    Tire tracks in the mud on the shoulder of Southshore Road and mud tracks on the road are evidence of damage done to the newly-rebuilt road, which was an expensive project for Putnam County and the first of its kind. CONTRIBUTED

Some spontaneous fun in the mud was apparently had at the county tax payers’ expense.

Just a few weeks after Southshore Road was totally repaved, including the base layer, sublayer and asphalt, various vehicles were driven on and off the road into the freshly-graded red clay on the shoulder. Photographs show tire

Photographs show tire tracks of various sizes in the mud, and corresponding mud tracks of various sized tires on the asphalt.

“Once it happens one time, then it seems everybody who rides by gets an inclination to do it; seems like it becomes monkey see, monkey do,” opined Putnam County Public Works Foreman Anthony Frazier.

Southshore Road runs off the highly-traveled Twin Bridges Road SW in southern Putnam County. Southshore received “pretty heavy damage” in 2011-2012 when a former paving contractor travelled back and forth on it while paving Bluegill Road. It recently underwent a complete, full-depth reclamation by contractor Pittman Construction.

“c Road project was one of the most extensive and expensive projects the county has undertaken in recent years,” Frazier said. “It was a complete rebuild of the entire roadway. It was the first full depth reclamation done to any of our roads. It was kind of a big deal.”

Frazier explained that a giant machine was brought in to “chew up” the road that was there, mix the crumbled materials with cement, then lay it back down as the bottom layers, then overlay that with asphalt. “It stabilizes the base so makes it more weather resistant,” he said. The shoulder was graded and hydroseeded (sprayed with a green grass seed/mulch mixture to prevent erosion). Frazier said a little of the hydroseed was washed away by rain, but most of it was still there and growing.

“The contractor did a pretty good job with the project,” he noted.

A few weeks after the project was completed, Frazier said he rode there on May 20 to check the installation of road signs and that was when he saw the mud tracks. He said similar issues happened recently on Old Phoenix and Clubhouse roads.

“When somebody drives off the shoulder, whether intentionally or unintentionally, it damages the shoulder, which is made so water will run off of it; so the water stands and degrades the road and cracks form,” he explained, and added “whoever did it made some pretty deep holes, so there may be some damage to public utilities that are underground over there, too; we’ll have to check that.”

When asked how much the repair will cost, Frazier estimated it would be about a week’s worth of man hours, plus equipment hours and material costs (he’ll have to buy dirt, he said). “So, it’ll be about a couple of thousand dollars, but that’s for one spot and this damage is from one end of the road to the other,” he said.

He said the public works department is about to embark on its contract with GDOT on 250 miles of striping roads in Putnam County (125 miles of roadway, on both sides of the road), so he can’t say when the Southshore Road will be repaired.

“It’s just extremely frustrating because the county paid a lot of money to do that job (Southshore Road), and with our small department, we can’t have multiple projects going on at the same time and the DOT striping project is a contract with time constraints, so I can’t say when it will get done,” he explained.

Frazier said the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office has assisted public works in similar incidents, because this type of action is actually illegal. According to Georgia code O.C.G.A. 32-6-1, “it is unlawful to …. Injure materially any part of any public road…. Causing any buildup of rock, gravel, mud, dirt, chemicals or other materials by continued ingress or egress of vehicles. … Any person who injures said public road shall be responsible for reimbursing the Department of Transportation or the applicable local governing authority in the case of a road which is part of a county road system… for the costs of repairs to the road incurred by such department or local governing authority.”