Johnson County looks to replace concrete neighborhood roads with asphalt

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind -- Johnson County officials are looking for ways to solve an aging eyesore in several Center Grove area subdivisions -- crumbling concrete roads.

Residents in the Willow Lakes subdivision recently brought photos and samples of the broken roads before the Johnson County Commissioners. Several neighbors in the development have been complaining for years about the deteriorating conditions of their neighborhood streets.

“Some of these places in the street are going to be nothing but gravel in just a few more years,” said Willow Lakes homeowners association member Dan Cecil. “I know they’ve got a ton of roads to take care of, but we still have an issue here that needs to be fixed.”

Willow Lakes and several other area subdivisions were built in the 1980s, and residents are still driving on the original concrete roads that went in when homes were built. Several large holes, gravel patches and cracks can be seen throughout Willow Lakes.

Cecil and others in Willow Lakes have expressed concerns about safety, declining home values and property damage.

“You’d be surprised how much gravel gets thrown out of these streets up into yards,” Cecil said. “We had one guy over there had his mailbox hit with a big chunk the sized of a baseball.”

Johnson County Commissioner Ron West says he agrees it’s time to address the problem on a large scale.

“We’re getting similar complaints from a variety of homeowners in the various subdivisions up there,” West said.

As county planners continue talks with Willow Lakes residents, West hopes to look at a long-term project to gradually replace concrete roads in several subdivisions with asphalt, which is more affordable.

“By being able to convert them to asphalt, we can do twice as much in the addition in the way of repairs,” West said.

Temporary repairs have been made in Willow Lakes and other areas, but West agrees the concrete patching no longer seems to be viable.

“It’s just so doggone expensive in the grand scheme of things, where we can go in and do the asphalt and do twice as much repair work,” said West.

The main problem now is funding. County officials don’t know how such a major undertaking would be paid for. West said he would like to see the county begin accumulating funding in the coming years that would be dedicated to roadwork in each neighborhood. He also says the county is close to paying off another large road project, which could allow financing for the new effort.

“The bond that we’re paying off was roughly a six million dollar bond,” West said. “So I would be hopeful that we would at least do that.”

West would also like to see the county explore purchasing its own milling equipment that could be used for roadwork whenever it’s needed.

So far, there’s no established timeline for when the asphalt replacement work could begin. Cecil says he and his neighbors are open to virtually any funding solution as long as the work gets underway soon.

“It’s got to be done,” Cecil said. “They’ve got to come up with some source of money to get in here and get these streets repaired, for one thing, just for safety.”

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