Work on Logan road continues, remains closed until complete

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Logan Road off of Follett Run Road in Conewango Township is closed. Concrete barriers have been placed near the intersection to discourage motorists from bypassing the signs, traveling on the road, and causing damage to the unfinished road surface.

Work on Logan Road in Conewango Township could keep the road closed into September.

Improvements to the road began last year funded by the Dirt and Gravel Road (DGR) Program overseen by Warren County Conservation District (WCCD).

The road was reopened over the winter, but traffic on the road set the work back, according to WCCD District Manager Heather Wilcox.

The continuation of the work has required that the road be closed again. Now, the project is nearly done, but opening the road would be premature.

“We put a fair amount of time, effort and dollars into the project,” Wilcox said. “The township is closing the road to preserve the integrity of what they’ve already done. In the long run, if people would just be patient, they’re going to have a better road.”

As happened when the road was open over the winter, “wheel action on the road will separate the material and the road will lose its shape,” she said. As the shape of the road changes, its run-off characteristics also change.

“Water will run off down the road, rather than off the road,” Wilcox said. Water running down the road wears ruts into it.

The final piece of the puzzle that will help the road maintain its shape is up to the township and cannot be done until the WCCD’s portion of the work is done.

“There is one more piece to finish up,” Wilcox said. “We will finish the project. The project on that part of the road has to be complete before they can start oiling.”

The DGR program will not fund the oiling of roads.

“In the meantime, the township is waiting,” Wilcox said. “They’re going to oil it and it will be open. The oil will help bind that surface together.”

That binding is particularly important in the case of Logan Road because of the slope of the road and the sharpness of the curve at the top of the hill.

A note on the white board at the township office in Starbrick shows Logan Road among a list of roads to be oiled. There is a question mark beside the date, but the board indicates oiling may take place in the first week of September.

According to information from WCCD regarding dirt roads, “although they are inexpensive to maintain, loss of fine materials from the roads and their drainage areas creates dust and sediment. If not properly maintained, these roads can become sources of runoff and pollution to neighboring streams and waterways. Runoff in our waterways depletes the oxygen levels, smothering aquatic life that supports our fisheries. Dirt roads that are not properly maintained become large providers of dust and sediment.”

The Dirt and Gravel Road Maintenance program was approved as part of the 1997 state transportation revenue bill. The bill provides $5 million in state funding each year — $4 million to the State Conservation Commission and $1 million directly to state forestry roads through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

“The State Conservation Commission apportions Dirt and Gravel Road Maintenance funds to the county conservation districts,” according to WCCD. “A quality assurance board has been created in Warren County… to establish and administer the grant program.”

“Local municipalities and state agencies that maintain dirt and gravel roads are eligible to receive funding,” according to WCCD. “However, to be eligible for the program, the participant must first attend a two-day training session.”

“Once the project is completed… in an environmentally sound way and according to the program guidelines, the remainder of the money is then awarded to the project participant.”