Work is necessary to keep roads in quality condition, and two major projects are planned

One of the things Susan, Chloe, Reagan, Landon and I share with the citizens of Crook County is the enjoyment of climbing into our vehicle on a sunny Sunday afternoon and experiencing the beauty of our community.

We are blessed to live in a county that places the quality of our roads as a high priority. Your Crook County Road department does an excellent job sharpening their pencil and coming up with creative ways to provide and maintain some of the best roads in Central Oregon. This will be especially apparent if you have spent any time in Bend recently.

Having great roads does not come without well-thought-out planning. This summer, like summers in the past, is the season for major road maintenance. Our county road master Bob O'Neil and his team do a great job planning and executing these projects.

The major projects planned for the summer of 2018 include two bridge projects. Crook County was awarded a grant to cover the majority of the cost of designing and reconstructing the Weigand Bridge.

The other bridge project planned for this summer is the Houston Lake Cornett Loop Bridge; this bridge falls under the 20-foot length threshold needed to qualify for grant funding. Keeping our bridges in good condition is a priority, ensuring the safety of our citizens.

Roads across our country are rated on a PCI (pavement condition index) that assigns a rating to the condition of a paved road. If the PCI drops below 75 percent, the cost of repair dramatically increases. A way to keep the PCI rating above that level is following a strict schedule of resurfacing our roads. Chip sealing is a cost-effective way used by the road department to resurface our roads.

This summer, chip sealing is scheduled for Ochoco Ranger Station Road, Mill Creek Road, Johnson Creek Road, Wainrite Road, Upper McKay Creek Road and Allen Creek Road.

A more significant way to resurface a road is to apply an overlay. This method is used when a road is still structurally sound but the surface is in poorer condition. Over the last two years, the road department has been overlaying McKay Road in phases, starting almost four miles from the city limits and working back toward the center of town. The McKay Road Overlay Phase III project will happen this summer and complete this multi-year project.

Economic development, recreation, transportation of goods, tourism, health and safety and leisurely summer drives are all greatly improved by a network of high-quality roads.

I would put Bob and his crew up against any other road department across our state, regarding their work ethic, professionalism and finished product.

Next time you see your county road department hard at work either driving a vehicle or sweating in the hot sun, slow down and give them a smile and a wave. Remember, without their efforts you might spend a lot more time dodging pot holes like people in other parts of our state.

Seth Crawford serves as the Crook County Judge. He can be reached at 541-447-6555.

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