County highway department changes format


The Jackson County Highway Department has returned to a service format of working the county’s three districts each day.

Superintendent Jerry Ault announced the plan during a commissioners meeting earlier this month.

The department will have three crews in each of the commissioners districts to complete work. The county changed its approach to have crews serve the entire county in 2014, but that approach has caused inefficiencies and other issues, Ault said.

“There was stuff piling up and certain areas in the county that were being neglected with the department being stretched too thin,” he said.

The department will have its 21 crew members split between the districts to maintain its 738 miles of county roads. They’re only responsible for county-controlled roads.

Crews spend their days patching potholes, fixing road signs, putting up road signs, mowing along roads, clearing storm debris, paving and chip and seal projects.

Each district will have a foreman and three workers. The county will be split in half, and the two excavators will be used for the west half and the east half.

That way, the department doesn’t have to transport the equipment all around but will only have one service area.

The plan also will allow the public to see the department’s workers more frequently.

“The taxpayers actually see county vehicles out,” Ault said. “That’s a big thing.”

Another benefit of returning to the format will allow workers to become so familiar with the areas they serve that it will make an impact on responding to issues sooner.

Ault said he used to be over District 3, and if a bad storm would come through with a lot of rain, he would know where all of the places that usually had damage, so it could be cleared quickly.

“You’re more familiar with the area, and that helps,” he said.

Foremen also can drive around their districts as other work is being completed to spot additional work.

“Keeping up on it and finding it is a big part of the job,” Ault said.

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