Mississippi County Hires Engineer to Examine Crumbling Roads

April 21, 2014

The Lamar County Board of Supervisors has given the county engineer approval to hire a firm that will look into why roads in at least three county subdivisions have been crumbling away.

The Hattiesburg American reports that GeoCon Laboratories Inc. of Hattiesburg will take core samples 3 feet deep from roadbeds in the subdivisions.

County Engineer Don Walker said the core samples should provide information on whether the proper materials were used in the proper quantity to meet minimum, required construction standards for the subdivisions.

“Do we have the proper thicknesses required by the subdivision regulations, assuming everything else is OK?’ Walker said. “That’s going to be part of it.”

Another potential factor: alterations to pre-existing roads prior to a subdivision’s construction that would change groundwater flow.

“With our roadways, we have shoulders and we have roadside ditches,” Walker said. “If homeowners come in there or developers come in and fill the ditches in, water is going to penetrate up and under the asphalt and into the gravel. It’s going to change the compaction characteristics, which means somebody traveling on it, especially with heavier loads, it’s going to cause the asphalt to fail.”

Walker said he anticipated the core testing would begin within the next few weeks and likely cost the county between $20,000 and $22,000.

After construction, developers usually retain responsibility for the roads for a period of time. After certifying that they have been built to meet the county’s subdivision standards, the roads generally come under county maintenance.

District 5 Supervisor Dale Lucus said the county had certification that the roads met those standards.

“But, even using the minimum clay base and asphalt, the roads are still tearing all to pieces, and if we have to go in there and dig out, we need to know what’s underneath there,” Lucus said.

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