If you have driven in Effingham County you have most likely driven on a fly ash road. The county has more than 235 roads where ash has been used as a base material, which amounts to roughly 153 road miles. Recently we have seen a large amount of damage to these ash roads and we are committed to correcting these issues in a timely and cost effective manner to provide safe roads for our citizens, residents and visitors.
The county began to use ash from the Fort Howard/Georgia Pacific plant in the early 2000s to improve the driving conditions of the county’s dirt roads. After applying ash base to dirt roads for several years, the county has worked to surface treat these ash roads in an attempt improve the driving conditions on rural roads. The surface treatment that has been most commonly used is applied by laying a course of liquid asphalt emulsion covered with a series of varying sized stones. By in large, this surface treatment has provided a much improved driving surface to the dirt roads of old.
Over the past several years, several of the ash roads have begun to deteriorate, which causes potholes, bare pavement shoulders and unpleasant driving conditions. The last several winters have been unseasonably cold and wet, which has most likely exacerbated the current road conditions.
The Board previously commissioned a study to report on the sustainability of the ash base that showed that, in their opinion, the ash material itself is a stable base material. The unseasonably wet and cold winters has caused heaving and cracking in the existing surface treatment that allows for water intrusion. We are now working to develop the appropriate strategy to repair, reclaim and improve the driving conditions of these roads and the best method of surfacing to prevent further damage to the roadways. The Public Works department is working to repair potholes and performing routine maintenance to improve the current driving conditions of the roads.
The board and our staff have completed a survey of the existing road conditions on all ash based roads. As temperatures climb and drier conditions continue the roads will improve and our Public Works department will be better able to handle pothole repair. The board is committed to a timely and cost effective solution to these road issues. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be investigating the best methods to effect a long term cure to these road issues.
Effingham County Board of Commissioners