Summer officially arrives June 20, but Columbia County Public works crews are already starting the annual summer road paving projects.
Crew launch the first project in the Vernonia area next week, according to Columbia County Public Works Director Mike Russell. That project will include McDonald Road and Apiary Road at Oak Ranch.
Other paving is planned at Hale Road, Newkirk Road and Dike Road in the St. Helens area, at the Scappoose Vernonia slide at Bonnie Falls and EJ Smith Road and along Nicolai Cutoff, Alston Mayger Road, Tide Creek Road and Meissner Road in Rainier and at Cedar Grove Road in Clatskanie.
Russell said the specific locations have been determined, in part, by public complaints concerning broken roads and pot holes.
"We use a combination of complaints and our experience about the pot hole areas were we would historically have problems," he said. "We are trying to get to those before they get worst."
Columbia County will use about 2,100 tons of asphalt costing approximately $1 million to conduct the paving projects.
"Our crews have been out preparing the roads, peeling back and mowing grass and doing whatever needs to be done to get the road ready," Russell said. "We have a paving machine with dump trucks going back and fourth to the asphalt plants that are stationed at Lakeside, Longview, Portland and Hillsboro."
During the paving, a layer of hot mix asphalt is placed along the county roadway.
"We have two rollers, a breakdown roller and a finish roller, that compacts the roadway following the paving," Russell said. So, the road ends up nice with a hard and smooth surface when we are done."
Signage will be placed alerting drivers and residents of the paving projects and to pay attention to flaggers directing traffic, usually over one lane as the paving is conducted in the other lane of the roadways.
Russell acknowledges that not all the pot holes on all the county roads will be paved.
"We are doing the best we can with the resources we have," he said.