This warm winter has been a blessing for Smokey Presseau’s budget, since the Brown County highway superintendent doesn’t have much money to repair potholes on rural roads.
Without repeated freezing and thawing, asphalt stays in one piece.
It’s a good thing. Because for 2012, Presseau’s $200,000 budget for road maintenance and repairs is only enough to buy thousands of gallons of thick oil and crushed stone to fill potholes.
“We can maintain the roads with what we have, but that’s about all,” Presseau said. “We have absolutely no money to pave.”
Brown County has about 175 miles of asphalt county roads and about 200 miles of roads with gravel surfaces.
He estimated that over the next five years, many asphalt roads in the county will start to crack and break, and there won’t be money to fix them.
A return to gravel may be a partial answer. “We will never be able to keep up with filling potholes,” the highway superintendent said.