You know it’s spring when people start finding mushrooms, you hear the crack of the bat for baseball and softball seasons, and you can begin wearing shorts outside and not freeze.
Oh, almost forgot. And you have to slow down for a pothole about every quarter of a mile.
Welcome to Indiana.
Greene County Highway Superintendent Roger Hamilton says he has two crews dedicated to fixing the potholes in the county’s 500 miles of paved roads.
“We have two crews (two workers each), weather permitting, that’s all they do,” Hamilton told me recently. “They get out as early as March and sometimes go through November.
“We have two machines and we basically have them scheduled throughout the county, working in different districts.”
In fact, the crews have been working overtime the past three weeks. During the warmer months, highway workers normally work four, 10-hour days (Monday through Thursday). The past few weeks, they’ve been working on Friday too.
Greene County residents are encouraged to call or email the highway department if their road needs attention due to potholes. Workers will take care of the problem as quickly as possible.
Hamilton said his crews try to be as efficient as possible with their time.
“We get a schedule made up, and we’ve done this the past three years. Normally, a district will have a machine in it for two weeks, off a week, and then on two weeks.”
He also stressed that when a machine is in the district, they like to have a plan and not just go from spot to spot throughout the district.
“We keep a list, one list for each district (there are three districts). They can’t jump all over the county, so they start on one end of the district, south for example, and work north. They try to stay consistent,” Hamilton explained.
The crews consist of two members, with one worker applying oil and the other rock. They can work anytime it’s above freezing or weather permits.
“If it gets down anywhere near freezing, the oil doesn’t flow well enough. We tend to like to keep it around 50 degrees when we go out,” Hamilton noted.
“And of course, rain kills us.”
If it does rain one day, and the potholes have water in them the next day, “they can blow the water out,” Hamilton noted.
The amount of road that can be covered in a day varies greatly, depending on the road.
“Sassafras Road, south of town (Linton), it took them probably a full eight to nine hours to do that two-mile stretch,” Hamilton said. “It was pretty rough.
“I could go out to Price Road, and there are one or two holes here and there, and get several (miles) done.”
Hamilton understands everyone wants their road patched first or soon, and he asks for patience.
“I think the biggest thing is, with the miles of road we have to deal with and the amount of people (workers) we have … four guys covering 500 miles of road,” Hamilton said. “We’ve kicked around trying to get more equipment, but we don’t have the people to run it.
“I’m not crying the blues, but it’s just a fact. We don’t have the people. The biggest thing is, we ask people to be patient.”
District 1 commissioner is Ed Michael, and Adam Bucher is the supervisor. Bucher can be reached at (812) 798-0351.
District 1 includes Beech Creek Township, Center Township, Highland Township (east of CR 400 E), Jackson Township, Richland Township (east of CR 400 E), and Taylor Township (east of CR 400 E).
District 2 commissioner is Nathan Abrams, and Brent Dyer is the supervisor. Dyer can be reached at (812) 381-1660.
District 2 includes Cass Township, Fairplay Township, Highland Township (west of CR 400 E), Jefferson Township, Richland Township (west of CR 400 E), Smith Township (east of CR 600 W), Taylor Township (west of CR 400 E), and Washington Township (east of CR 600 W).
District 3 commissioner is Rick Graves, and Ron Wiggington is the supervisor. Wiggington can be reached at (812) 798-0352.
District 3 includes Grant Township, Smith Township (west of CR 600 W), Stafford Township, Stockton Township, Washington Township (west of CR 600 W), and Wright Township.
You can also call the highway office at (812) 659-2045 to report a pothole, and you can also email email@example.com with the same information.
Chris is the publisher of the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (812) 847-4487.