Lynd agrees to cease chip-and-seal on CR 107

Published 9:52 am Friday, September 11, 2009

ROME TOWNSHIP — Lawrence County Engineer David Lynd has sent an e-mail to the Lawrence County Commission, advising he will discontinue his plans to chip-and-seal a portion of County Road 107 and will speed up plans to repave that roadway.

This comes one day after the commission unappropriated his $1.2 million budget. That action came when Lynd did not show up at two commission meetings this week to explain why he opted to chip-and-seal an asphalt roadway. Residents contend it reduced the roadway to a gravel road.

“Whatever potholes I can patch, I’ll patch them,” Lynd told The Tribune Thursday afternoon. He said he plans to seek state Issue II funding to resurface the road next year, one year ahead of what he initially planned.

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As for the budget action, Lynd said he is looking into what recourse he has. He said he has spoken with the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office but has not sought any other legal counsel in the matter.

“The trouble with talking to the prosecutor is, he’s the lawyer for everyone involved, so he’s kind of caught in the middle,” Lynd said.

Lynd said he has some materials already purchased for other projects but is hopeful his situation with the commission can be resolved and his budget returned to him.

Commissioners Jason Stephens and Les Boggs said they knew about the email Lynd sent but had not spoken with Lynd directly since the money was taken out of his budget. Stephens said he anticipates the issue will be discussed at Tuesday’s regular weekly work session. He said he hopes Lynd will attend and talk about the situation.

Stephens said while he is concerned about what happened to the road, he is more concerned that Lynd has not met with or spoken to the angry residents who have bombarded both offices with calls since the chip-and-seal work began late last week.

“It’s not so much the road as it is that people could not get a hold of an elected official,” Stephens said.

Lynd said he was out of town Thursday and came back Friday to find 100 telephone messages. He could not respond to all of them but is willing to meet with residents to discuss their objections to the road work. He did not say why he did not attend the commission meetings.

“If people really want to talk I don’t care to make an appointment,” Lynd said.

Boggs said Lynd’s plans to seek Issue II funding is not likely to appease angry residents who will have to drive on roughly a mile-and-a-half of graveled tar until then.

“I don’t think that will be good enough for the people who live there,” Boggs said. “I want to know the motive behind it (the chip-and-seal work).”

Late last week the engineer’s office began applying what is known as chip-and-seal to the old State Route 7 between the Lawrence County Fairgrounds and Fairland East Elementary School.

The road had been a state highway and maintained as such until the new Chesapeake Bypass was opened. It then became a county road.

Residents said the chip-and-seal process, in which a layer of tar is applied and then a layer of gravel rolled into it, is, residents contend, tantamount to making a heavily traveled asphalt highway a gravel road. They complained to township and county officials but said their efforts to contact Lynd were unsuccessful and he never returned calls left at his office.

Approximately 30 people showed up at the commission’s weekly work session Tuesday and then the commission asked Lynd to attend their regular meeting Wednesday to address the residents’ concerns.

Lynd did not attend but did sent his staff member, Gary Murnahan. The commission unappropriated Lynd’s budget in response.