Commission hears plans for county road work

BLACKFOOT — The administrator for the Bingham County road crew presented the Eight-Year Plan of road maintenance in the county to the Bingham County commissioners Monday.
The commissioners oversee the expenses for the county. Therefore their input is sought on the priority of the road projects.
"The projects presented are in no particular order," said David Babbitt, Bingham County Director of Public Works. "We want our plan on where we're going to be on the same page [as the Bingham County commissioners]."
This list of roads and bridges come from projects that were designated in past years.
"We want to avoid, at all costs, turning oil roads back into gravel roads," Babbitt said. "As years go farther ahead, we will be able to do less and less miles because of cost.
"The loads are heavier and wider," he said. "We must build up the shoulders of the roads.
"Sometimes we run out of time and/or money," Babbitt said.
There are 665 miles of oiled road in Bingham County. This year, 40 miles of the county's roads were chip-sealed.
The commissioners said they hoped the road and bridge crew would be able to get back to chip-sealing 86 miles of roadway each year. "We chip-seal our best roads," Babbitt said. "This extends the life of the surface of the road."
The amount of money available for road maintenance in any particular year depends on what kind of year it was. For example, this year, money from road and bridge went to reinforce river banks to prevent flooding.
"I think you do a good job maintaining roads in the county," said Commissioner Cleone Jolley. "I think you've made a lot of improvement.
"It seems the more we do, the more people expect," he said.
A conversation about whether the city or the county is responsible for maintenance of the walking paths in cities took place.
"The city maintains the path in the city; the county maintains it in the county," Jolley said.
"It costs a lot more to maintain a path as to build it," one of the road and bridge work crew said.
The commissioners have not yet made any decisions about what projects they will approve for 2012.