Officials: New Wicomico County Road Maintenance Process, A Big M - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Officials: New Wicomico County Road Maintenance Process, A Big Money Saver

WICOMICO COUNTY, Md. - Wicomico County road crews are saving big when it comes to the county road maintenance process. That's according to Wicomico County Executive Rick Pollitt.

Pollitt and the Department of Public Works announced Monday Roads Division crews have saved the county $10,000 per day using the department's new Chip Spreader to apply bituminous surface treatment, also known as tar and chip, to county roads.

Recently, the county says approximately 7.5 miles of road were resurfaced by crew members who received training on the proper use of the computer-controlled Chip Spreader purchased in August 2013. The additional pieces needed for the process were acquired this summer, according to the county.

"Having this type of operation at our disposal allows Public Works to service our road network at a level we have not seen in years. By doing this type of work with county staff and equipment, we can do a complete road treatment in a timely manner and improved quality control with fewer dollars spent. This is a real win-win for Public Works and the citizens of Wicomico County," said Lee Beauchamp, Department of Public Works Director.

The Department of Public Works - Road Division says it has resurfaced Spearin Road, Layfield Road, Mt. Olive Road, Long Ridge Road and Seymore Road.
The first part of the tar and chip process, the application of liquid tar, was out sourced, according to the county. However, the Public Works says the department took over from there, applying crushed chip stone using the spreader box attached to the dump truck transporting the gravel. The county says the stone adheres to the hot liquid tar and finally a roller is used to embed the stone into the tar. In a few weeks, once the application is cured, a crew will come back and sweep away the excess stone.

"Many of the nearly 100 miles of roads resurfaced this year were on the list back in 2008 when we lost our State Highway User Revenue," said County Executive Rick Pollitt. "In light of the county's loss of that revenue, we have had to be creative and come up with smarter, more effective ways to maintain our roads system, relying more on local resources. Our strategy is to build a Department of Public Works that can do more with less while maintaining safe roads for travelers.  This is a big step in that direction."

Beauchamp notes that by taking over the chip application portion of the process, the department was able to save the county $0.44 per square yard per day, which is a total savings of $40,000 versus contracting out services. The county says Beauchamp is currently investigating the purchase of a tar distributor truck to render the Department truly self-sufficient, with all work performed in-house by county employees.
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