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Ideal weather aids in repair of rough road

Photo by Martha Rogus Pictured is a portion of Peterson Hill Road off Route 957 in Freehold Township. Dry weather has helped crews improve the road’s condition.

Situated in Sugar Grove and Freehold townships is Peterson Hill Road off Route 957.

It’s an unpaved road where several residents live and enjoy majestic views of the valley and hills. This area is farm and Amish country where sheep and cattle roam and gardens flourish. In other words, it’s a typical, quiet township road.

But the road wasn’t always this nice.

In 2017, the road was nearly impassable. Weather that season produced “at least six, freeze-thaw cycles,” according to township road foreman Brian Larson. That many freeze-thaw cycles exacerbate road conditions that led residents into thinking the issue was irreparable.

Township Supervisor Alan Smith explained that they wanted to do something but couldn’t because the road was so muddy that equipment needed to fix the problem could not be used because it was too heavy for those conditions. So, it looked as if the townships were doing nothing when in fact, they were waiting for Mother Nature to dry things out for necessary repairs to be made.

The deep ruts from residential vehicles and Amish buggies mix with wet soil and a clay base to cause the problem. Then, the ruts were close to 8 inches deep in some locations. The ruts held in water that under normal conditions would reach the drainage ditches at the sides of the road. Instead, the ruts trapped water and moisture from the melting ice and created a slippery, muddy mess.

On the worst days, residents reported taking alternate routes to reach their homes and destinations. The residents and supervisors were frustrated, but patience finally paid off.

The township supervisors knew they need to improve the base once dried out.

That finally happened.

Smith said this past year was much better weather-wise, and they were able to make the improvements. The ditches, which look fully functional, are there but dry due to the lack of any recent substantial rain.

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