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County completes resurfacing project

County Road 42 was widened and resurfaced from County Road 71 to County Road 54, while County Road 54 was widened and resurfaced from Dickens Field Road to County Road 42. (File Photo)

The Butler County Road Department has completed a $957,000 widening and resurfacing project on 7.5 miles of county roads.

County Road 42 was widened and resurfaced from County Road 71 to County Road 54, while County Road 54 was widened and resurfaced from Dickens Field Road to County Road 42.

The project completed a five-year plan by the Butler County Commission to upgrade portions of the county’s roads. The plan was started into motion nearly 12 years ago, according to Butler County Commission Chairman Jesse McWilliams.

“We’re very happy for the residents that live on Manningham Road and that part of Ridge Road that we were able to get this project done,” McWilliams said. “When we made our plan, we could do about nine miles of road for $500,000. That cost has more than doubled and it’s a challenge to find the money to keep our roads in good shape.”

The county paid $200,000 of the cost for completing this latest project, while the remainder of the money came from Federal Aid Resurfacing Funds from 2010 and 2011.

“These federal funds are reserved for major collector roads, which these two roads happen to be. Major collectors receive a higher degree of traffic,” County Engineer Dennis McCall said.

“Minor collector roads are not eligible for these federal funds, and have to be paid for by 100 percent local funds. Obviously, that limits what we can do, and that’s a real concern for being able to do work other than routine maintenance.”

One hundred and seventy miles out of the county’s 550 miles of road are classified as major collector roads.

According to McCall, it would cost $90 million to resurface all of the county’s paved roads. Upkeep of the county’s road system is funded primarily through a tax on gasoline, which accounts for approximately $1.7 million.

“Finding the funds to resurface the 380 miles that aren’t eligible for federal and state money are a major concern,” McWilliams said.

“We’re doing the best we can to maintain them by patching them in spots, but the roads weren’t means to last this long.

“Right now, we just don’t have the money in the budget to do everything we need to do to our roads.”