Beginning July 5, Crawford County road crews will lay down about $1.8 million worth of asphalt throughout the county.
Using a recently purchased Cat AP555F mid-sized, rubber track paving machine, road crews will lay asphalt on the county’s chip and seal roads throughout the summer and fall, said Crawford County Judge John Hall, who heads the county road department.
Hall set aside $1.5 million from the road department and has another $330,000 in state aid to go toward paving, he said. Hall expects to pave about 22 miles of county roads with that money, he said.
"We’re going to continue this program until it gets too late in the season or we run out of money, whichever comes first," Hall said.
Crews will pave portions of roads across the county and do some spot repairs, Hall said.
Roads on the list to be paved include Cross Lanes, Old Concord, Pointer Trail East, Arkansas 282 Link, Newberry Chapel, Cain, Bond Special, Pine Hollow, Liberty Hill, Old Uniontown, Sunnyside, Collum Lane, North Rudy Road and Lost Beach.
"As we complete the list, we’ll continue to move on out to other roads," Hall said.
This is the first year Crawford County has been able to pave its own roads, Hall said.
Crawford County justices of the peace approved a measure in May allowing Hall to enter a finance agreement with Citizens Bank & Trust Co. for $213,511 to buy the $313,551 paving machine for the road department.
"Over the last eight years we have built about 120 miles of new chip and seal road where they were dirt," Hall said. "The time has now come that we need to go back and revitalize these chip and seal roads with asphalt that will make them last for the next 10 to 15 years."
Crawford County Highway Department will use all of its own equipment for the paving program, Hall said. Work crews will come in part from the road department, but mostly be made up of job trainees from the Western Arkansas Employment Development Agency, or WAEDA, he said.
After flooding in December 2015 that caused Crawford County to be declared a disaster area by the state, the road department is being provided the WAEDA workers at no charge to help with road repairs.
WAEDA workers will make up the largest part of asphalt crews, leaving other road department employees free to continue the regular road maintenance, Hall said. The workers will remain with the road department until this December, he said.
The paving comes as Hall completes the final months of his fifth term as county judge. Hall announced in September 2015 that he would not be running for re-election this year.