Guernsey County Highway Department
The goal of the Guernsey County Highway Department is to provide our travelers with the safest and most reliable roads and bridges possible.
This must be done with a cycle of continuous improvement and in a sustainable manner for the good of our community.
Paul Sherry P.E., P.S.
62782 Bennett Ave. Cambridge, OH 43725
Monday – Friday
7:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M.
2020 Construction Season Wrap up:
2020 has been an interesting year with many unknowns and unique situations. This year has certainly added a unique twist at the end of my first term. We have had many successes throughout the term and especially this year. These are measured by the completion of projects already in process at my arrival as well as being able to establish the next set of projects and goals for the next term. We have focused on determining methods that will allow us to provide a good level of service throughout the County while we operate in a declining budget.
In the County Highway department, we have made a greater emphasis on controlling surface water on our roads. This was addressed using four different methods: culvert pipe replacements with proposed paving, grading to pull ditches and recreate the road crown, milled to remove remnants of chip and sealed roads, and sealed paved roads.
With each culvert replacement the immediate area was inspected and ditched to ensure positive drainage. Water control is the single most important characteristic that will impact the longevity of our roadways; this applies equally to paved, chip and sealed, and gravel surfaces. Culvert replacement precedes resurfacing of asphalt roads to avoid damage from sinkholes that may occur over time.
Grading off the edge of the road into ditches helps get water off the road, improves the profile, and brings fine soils back into the gravel road material matrix. Unfortunately, this is a very dusty and sometimes muddy process but the temporary inconvenience is a small price to pay for an improved ride and better long-term serviceability. We have made it through about a third of our 200 miles of secondary roads. Next year we will spend even more time trying to complete all the remaining roads.
We used a full-size milling machine to grind several former chip and sealed roads that were no longer maintainable. We had to resort to this method because the 15-year-old chip and seal was no longer salvageable and created a poor ride. By removing the remnants of chip and seal surface, we can provide and better maintain a gravel road surface. During this process we added more stone, graded and rolled as a single moving operation. A large storm event caught us at a bad time, creating a muddy mess but we recovered and the roads are performing well. We will monitor how these roads perform over the winter and into spring.
The final emphasis was to seal the surface of paved roads. Using State of Ohio purchase contracts to attain the specifications and vendor, we were able to have 20 miles of roadway crack sealed, micro-surfaced, or chip and sealed. These are techniques to improve minor ride issues but mostly to keep the water out and extend the longevity of the asphalt. Chip and sealing over an asphalt road may appear counter intuitive, but it can remedy larger paving defects than micro-surfacing while adding an increased friction factor.
Looking ahead to 2021 we have over 10 miles of paving projects planned as well as addressing the poor condition of several secondary roads. We were fortunate to receive our second $500,000 grant from ODOT to maintain roads indirectly impacted from oil and gas development. In 2020 we used this money to resurface sections of Salem and Pennyroyal Roads; next year we will resurface Fairground Road. These funds are a great help but the project still requires a match of over $500,000.
As you know, in July 2019 the Legislature granted an increase in fuel tax of $.11 per gallon. This is less than a third of the requested $.35 per gallon that was determined to be needed by State and Local experts. Recognizing that the positive impact of this one-time increase will quickly be lessened by inflation, we found a way to make the best improvements for our community. By using this revenue to finance an internal $4,000,000 loan, we are able to get a jump on improving almost 30 miles of secondary roads. The goal for this program is to make the ride better for our travelers and minimize the expense of constant maintenance. It is important to look at the cost of funding since our revenues are static and the cost of inflation and depreciation are our largest expenses.
I would like to thank our travelers for their patience during construction. We hope that a short period of inconvenience will provide a long and uninterrupted service time. We look forward to a very busy year in 2021, so please keep everyone’s safety in mind.
Paul E. Sherry, PE, PS
Guernsey County Engineer
The new 2020 Guernsey County Highway Maps are here! They are now available at the Map Department for $3.00 each. Our data has been updated and enhanced to be more informative, and we have added new Points of Interest, Cemetery Locations and more.
Click the picture below to see the multiple projects