CC Township Association hears drainage update, Sheriff’s Office status, road repair solutions
By Matt Echelberry
BUCYRUS — All 16 townships in Crawford County were represented at the 2013 County Engineer and Township Trustees Meeting on March 14. Before the three guest speakers addressed the crowd, two important announcements were made: Prices for stone, cement and asphalt have increased this year and estimates for any Ohio Public Works projects next year must be turned in by July 2013.
The first speaker for the meeting was Mike Hall, program coordinator at the Crawford County Soil and Water Conservation District. He gave an overview of water drainage. In Crawford County, he reported that agriculture is the number one industry. While 67 percent of the soil is considered “prime for agriculture,” 79 percent of it is classified as “somewhat poorly drained” or a worse condition.
Hall explained that soil wetness is a limiting factor in agriculture, which is why drainage is necessary. Homeowners operate under the Reasonable Use Doctrine for water usage on the property (ponds, grass waterways, irrigation, etc.). Throughout the state, there are conservancy districts which handle drainage issues. Locally, the Soil and Water Conservation District works to cooperate with the county and townships when doing drainage projects.
Crawford County Sheriff Steve Kent also spoke. According to him, the sheriff is the oldest law enforcement office in the United States and Ohio’s first sheriff was appointed in 1788.
A sheriff serves a four year term and is the only law enforcement office still elected by popular vote. All sheriffs in Ohio are members of the Buckeye State Sheriff Association and wear the same uniform.
In Crawford County, there are 13 deputies that patrol 402 square miles and reserve deputies help when needed. the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office is the only agency in the state still offering the D.A.R.E. program, which Kent said they intend to continue.
Among several other duties, his office is responsible for maintaining the county jail. The average population is 103 inmates, which Kent said puts it at full capacity most of the time.
The final speaker that morning was Zach Helm from Strawser Construction in Columbus. He presented possibilities for road paving preservation—or how to make pavement last longer while cutting costs.
Because local governments have smaller budgets and rising costs each year, Helm said any savings on road paving can be a great benefit. His company works with ODOT and townships throughout the state because of the innovative materials they offer.
The first process is called “microsurfacing,” which actually started in Germany. Helm called it the “most economical treatment” for road preservation. The material is composed of asphalt emulsion, limestone aggregate, cement and water.
Helm explained that microsurfacing creates an impermeable seal and can be applied at cooler temperatures, including during nighttime. It has a fast cure time and improves the friction of the surface. According to Helm, microsurfacing produces a 7–9 year life extension for the road at one-third of the cost.
The company has worked on parts of Interstate 71 and will micosurface parts of State Route 19 this year.
Another process Helm explained was “black mat microsurfacing,” which uses the same material with 50 percent trap rock added in to keep the pavement looking black longer. It also aids in melting snow from the roadway.
Both methods are good for roads that are 4–10 years old with only minor rutting and bleeding. Helm emphasized that there needs to be a good sub base and roads with major deficiencies like alligator cracking and potholes are not good candidates for either process, but Strawser Construction can also do patchwork for such deficiencies.