• 48°

Your road doesn’t get enough attention?

County engineer describes county’s rainy season work

Covington County ranks third in the state for the total number of unpaved roads it maintains, and County Engineer Lynn Ralls wants to shed some light on what that means for the county’s road department.

“We have to regrade all of the unpaved roads once a month and even more than that when it rains,” Ralls said.

In the month of January, there was only an average of two inches of rainfall compared to the month of February where there was an average of seven inches in the county.

“We have definitely had the challenge in the past months of dealing with rainfall and the winter temperatures,” Ralls said.

It takes a minimum of three passes of a motorgrader to properly grade a road, Ralls said. Multiplying the number of miles of dirt roads (660) by the number of passes (3) equates to 1,980 miles of grading for all the county unpaved roads.

That’s the approximate straight line distance from Andalusia to Los Angeles. An additional pass to improve the conditions of the road brings the total distance of grading to 2,640 miles – the approximate distance from the Atlantic Ocean on North Carolina’s east coast, to the Pacific Ocean on California’s west coast.

“We do not have the budget to get more motorgraders,” Ralls said. “We have seven working right now, but with the amount of work, it still takes about a month to regrade the entire county.”

The county maintains 630 miles of paved roads with a service life of 20 years. In order to maintain its current inventory ,the county would have to resurface 31.5 miles of road at an annual cost of $5.5 million based on the current pricing of $175,000 per mile. The county only receives $533,000 a year in federal funding each year.

“I just want to let the people know what the county is up against,” Ralls said.