Above average rain wreaks havoc on Blount Co roads

Above average rain wreaks havoc on Blount Co roads

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Already, the Blount County highway department has used 480 tons of asphalt this summer. That's usually what they use the entire season. Already, the Blount County highway department has used 480 tons of asphalt this summer. That's usually what they use the entire season.
Drivers in Blount County say the extra potholes this summer are hard to miss. Drivers in Blount County say the extra potholes this summer are hard to miss.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

MARYVILLE (WATE) - Heavy rains have brought an increase in road problems across the area.

In Blount County, the highway department has seen nearly double the number of potholes and road issue because of the rain this year.

Multiple crews worked their way down cracked and torn streets on Wednesday and Thursday filling in potholes caused by the above average rainfall.

"If you get moisture going under your asphalt, that starts the soft spots and as the traffic hits it, it makes an indenture in the asphalt, it cracks. And once it starts cracking, it'll start breaking," said Bill Dunlap, the Blount County Highway Superintendent.

Drivers say the extra potholes this summer are hard to miss.

"A lot of the secondary roads are narrow, so you might straddle a lane just to miss a pothole, and it's difficult when you have oncoming traffic," said Blount County resident Bobby Davis.

Blount County has had 48 inches of rain this summer, 17 inches above normal. And it's put a lot of pressure on the highway department. 

Already, the highway department has used 480 tons of asphalt this summer. That's usually what they use the entire season.

"I see the need out there. I hear the need out there every summer during paving season, and I've asked for additional revenue," Dunlap said.

Through cuts and extra funding from county commission, the highway department has generated a little over $1 million in new dollars. Of their $6.3 million dollar budget, nearly a third goes to asphalt, including packing potholes and paving roads.

"The road crews are doing all they can with what they have and I appreciate because I drive a lot," said Davis.

Dunlap said despite all the extra work this summer, there are funds set aside for the rest of the year, meaning winter problems and salt allotment have all been covered.

 

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