Weather plays havoc with 2014 paving plans

Blount County’s 2014 paving schedule for county roads took a back seat to the whims of Mother Nature this year in three of the county’s four districts. Whereas in years past, districts normally were able to pave with tar and gravel five to 10 roads or road segments, averaging about 10 to 12 miles per district, this year only Commissioner Gary Stricklin in District 4 was able to keep up that pace.

Stricklin submitted the following paving schedule in March: Junk Road, Tim King Road, Walls Road, Hollingsworth Road, Moss Road, Deavers Town Road, Pine Mountain Trail, Cornelius Road, Shadow Lane, and leveling on Five Points Road. The total paved length of the 10 road segments is 13.1 miles. Stricklin said he is running about two weeks behind his planned schedule, but that he should complete the projects by August.

District 1 Commissioner Allen Armstrong announced plans last November to pave Old Hayden Road and a longer stretch of county road 7 this summer. He said last week that extended periods of sub-zero weather followed by extensive flooding had disrupted his paving plans. Instead, he has expended both time and money on patching widespread pavement damage caused by low temperatures and high water. Old Hayden Road and county road 7 may have to wait until next spring, he said.

District 2 Commissioner Carthal Self said he has been affected by the same weather damage as District 1. He is completing the asphalting of Mt. Carmel Road, a relatively long stretch of road east of Snead.

District 3 Commissioner Dean Culvert said the April 28 tornadoes and their extensive damage to roads at Highland Lake and generally across Straight Mountain has absorbed his budget and crippled his ability to carry out paving plans for this summer. In addition to road damage, the equally extensive debris cleanup effort has prevented his focusing on the routine summer paving season, he said.