Jackson County considers special $5 million equipment to fix roads

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JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — Repairing crumbling roads is an on-going struggle for communities across mid-Michigan.

But one local road department is considering a new piece of equipment that could be a game-changer.

Jackson County’s roads are falling apart, plagued with potholes.

Christopher Bolt, managing director of the Jackson County Department of Transportation, says they’re considering buying new equipment to turn things around.

“There is optimism and excitement that this is going to make a big difference,” Bolt said.

A series of machines are hooked together for the process that recycles existing road materials.

The first machine breaks up the old pavement and then the road material is mixed with oil and water to form refreshed concrete that’s pressed down to make a new base for the road.

“The road then needs hot mix asphalt on top of it, and that’s when we partner with our contractors to take care of the paving,” Bolt said.

Bolt says this kind of pavement is more durable, requires less maintenance, and has a longer lifespan.

He estimates it can save $125 million over 50 years.

“We’re hoping we can reduce the cost to our taxpayers and communities substantially over the long haul,” Bolt said.

The new equipment comes with $5 million price tag, and approval is still needed from the Jackson County Board of Commissioners.

Bolt says commissioners are currently considering the proposal, and they could have an answer in a couple weeks.

If they get the go-ahead, JDOT would be the first road department in Michigan to use this paving system.

“We hope to be operational by June 1 at the latest,” Bolt said.

With Jackson’s roads getting worse every day, Bolt says they need a long-term solution.

“It is demoralizing, and difficult and challenging to go out and patch potholes day after day. So this is quite exciting in the sense that it will have an actual impact on the community,” Bolt said.

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