- Associated Press - Monday, May 25, 2015

FRANKLIN, Ind. (AP) - Neighbors drive on the wrong side of the street to avoid wide cracks and 6- to 8-foot-long holes that patching just won’t fix anymore.

The roads in El Dorado II, in the Center Grove area, were at one time concrete. They were paved over with asphalt, and the county has since fixed cracks and holes. But some sections are so broken down they look like gravel, problem areas stretch across the entire road, and the edges are crumbling, resident Larry Davis said.

Patching the holes and cracks just won’t work anymore. The streets need to be redone, Davis said.

More than half the residents in the neighborhood off State Road 135 near Olive Branch Road have banded together, reviving a voluntary homeowners association, and roads are a key issue. They have contacted the county and met with officials with a plea to get their roads fixed.

“Our thought is it’s probably the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, so we are going to start squeaking,” Davis said.

The county knows the roads need work. In fact, they know they need to be redone. But El Dorado isn’t the only neighborhood that needs that kind of work, officials said.

“A lot of the neighborhoods are getting to the age where those kind of repairs are getting necessary,” Commissioner Ron West said.

He has been talking with residents of the neighborhood and the highway department to see what work could be done and when. But he can’t make any promises.

“We want to convey they are not forgotten. We are working toward getting it done. We wish we had more money,” West said.

‘Only have so much money’

The county highway department is responsible for more than 600 miles of roads throughout Johnson County, including much of White River Township. This year, they have $2 million to spend on road work, which includes main roads and neighborhood streets. Of that, about $250,000 is set aside for subdivision streets, highway department engineer Mike Pelham said.

Since that is nowhere near enough to fix, pave and redo all of the roads in the county, officials each year rate each road and street and then create a list of where work should be done. Officials are working on that list now.

Whether work will be done in a certain neighborhood, such as El Dorado, depends on the road ratings and how that compares to others in the county, highway department director Luke Mastin said.

“We probably have quite a few neighborhood streets that are in that condition or worse. And that’s the challenge we have, because we only have so much money,” Mastin said.

And only some of that money can go into neighborhood streets. The county has to consider how much traffic uses a certain road and put a higher priority on roads with more traffic. County roads that thousands of vehicles travel each day have to get the higher priority, he said.

Mastin does understand the concerns of residents, who want the subdivision streets they travel on daily to be fixed.

“From our perspective, we are at a 30,000-foot view. We see all of the roads that need maintenance, and we have to determine what we can fit into the program,” Mastin said.

“If you live on a road that needs maintenance, you have to drive on it every day, so you have a different perspective.”

‘Something needs to be done’

Roads have been a key issue for residents in El Dorado, Davis said. Neighbors use a website to communicate, and roads are always a hot topic, he said.

The condition of roads is also a concern for potential buyers in a neighborhood, real estate agent Jeff Paxson said.

“We don’t get feedback that roads are nice. But we do get feedback. They do deduct for roads being choppy and rough,” he said.

For example, when he sold homes in Brentridge Estates in past years, potential buyers mentioned the roads. And when they were fixed, one buyer specifically noted that, Paxson said.

That is a concern to El Dorado homeowners, who want potential buyers to have a positive view of the neighborhood, Davis said.

The asphalt paving the county did over the concrete roads held up for a few years but then began breaking down. Now, the roads have multiple cracks and holes, stretching across the width of the street in some areas. The problem areas are not necessarily damaging cars, since they are traveling slower in a neighborhood. But they are an issue, he said.

County officials have said they will come out and fix the holes and cracks, but residents say that isn’t enough.

“My guess is if they can ignore it another year, they will. I think they will have a lot of projects on their list. But we are at the point where we feel something needs to be done about the roads. And whether that is this season or next, we just want a commitment,” Davis said.

The ratings of the roads give the county the best data to determine what should be fixed this year, what requires the most work and how they compare to other neighborhoods, which will all be factored in when deciding what work will be done this year, Mastin said.

“We want to pave people’s roads more than they want it paved. If we had the money, we would do them all, but we can’t,” Mastin said.

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Source: Franklin Daily Journal, https://bit.ly/1RwEFc7

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Information from: Daily Journal, https://www.dailyjournal.net


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