A firm hired by Effingham County to probe its ash road problem is scheduled to start its work by the weekend.
Through consultation with OMI, the county’s public works contractor, five roads have been selected for WPC to probe for possible repair solutions. WPC will look at Green Morgan School, Log Landing, Ogeechee River, Forest and Courthouse Road Extension.
County commissioners have approved a contract with WPC to perform geotechnical services.
“They will do some corings on roads where we’ve had issues,” County Administrator David Crawley said. “They will make recommendations on what to do with our ash roads after they finish their physical and chemical analysis.”
WPC will advise the county on the best solution to deal with the problem on some of the roads. Their field work will take about three to four weeks to complete, and they should be able to provide recommendations in about 30 days.
WPC analysts will take core samples to test what the base consists of and the surface treatment thickness. They also will look at the best way to leave the ash in place and make it a suitable road so it will not heave or buckle.
But the only problem isn’t the mix on the roads themselves, county officials said.
“If we don’t have the intentions to clean out the ditches properly or digging ditches properly,” said commission Chairman Dusty Zeigler, “there’s no point in doing any of this.”
Drainage issues are compounded by a set of hurdles, aside from cleaning out ditches.
“We don’t have proper right of way, shoulders and drainage along our roads,” Crawley said. “WPC’s point was if you don’t have proper drainage, it doesn’t matter what kind of roads you have. They’re all going to fail.”
If the county can find a way to keep the ash in place and repair the roads, Crawley added, it may be able to avoid the thorny issues of acquiring rights-of-way.