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The changing face of paving: County road crews going all in on cold paving

Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

 Carter County road crews are sold on cold paving, and they’re making changes to their equipment to accommodate the new method of paving roads and filling potholes. Road supervisor Jason Carroll brought a request to fiscal court to trade equipment that will enable the road department to be more productive with cold paving, while still allowing them to use hot mix pavement when necessary. 

The proposal by Carroll, which was approved by fiscal court during their final meeting of the year in special session last Wednesday, will trade a large reclaimer – also known as a milling machine – for a skid steer with various attachments such as a smaller planer, which is a reclaimer like attachment the road crew can use for potholes, as well as forks and a broom attachment for the skid steer. The trade also included a heavier roller, which is necessary for the cold paving mix. 

The reclaimer the county will be trading is two years old, and cost $250,000 when the county purchased it. Carroll estimated that the road department had only around 40 hours of time on that milling machine, which is too large to be useful for pothole repairs. The smaller planer/milling machine attachment they will receive in the trade will be more useful to the road department when filling potholes on county roads. 

Judge executive Mike Malone noted that it would be more cost effective for the county to make these trades and to rent the heavier equipment if it were needed, based on the number of hours the equipment has been used since purchase. The trade for the equipment is a straight trade, with no money changing hands. 

The county also discussed the state of gravel roads treated with claycrete products over the past year. Some roads have done better than others with the treatment, which the county expected, based on the amount of clay found in the local soils as well as the road crews experience with the product and with testing the composition of soil before beginning treatment. Malone cited Halfway Branch as “probably the best” as far as the claycrete holding up over time. The county plans to treat more gravel roads with the claycrete treatment in the coming year if the soil composition is conducive to the process. 

The claycrete product is a chemical that is mixed with water and applied to gravel roads where it binds with clay heavy soil to create a low dust surface that is similar in composition to concrete under ideal conditions. 

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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