The Franklin County Commission recently voted 3-0 to spend $434,845 in highway funds to put hot mix asphalt overlay on 5.1 miles of roads.

The asphalt surface will be put on two roads — Decker Road, which is between Labadie and Gray Summit, and Grand Army Road, which is near Labadie and St. Albans.

With this project, the county highway department will have completed 7.8 miles of asphalt overlay this summer. The other 2.7 miles was on Bassett Road in northeast Franklin County.

The commissioners received two bids for the work and awarded the contract to N.B. West Contracting of Sullivan, which was the low bidder.

The section of Grand Army Road getting the asphalt is currently gravel while Decker is already asphalt but in need of a new surface, County Engineer Joe Feldmann said.

The asphalt surface that was on Decker and Bassett was over 10 years old, Franklin County Highway Administrator Eva Gadcke said.

There will be 3.5 miles of Decker Road to get asphalt and 1.6 miles of Grand Army Road.

Decker Road, which runs between Highway T and Highway 100, will get a 2-inch overlay, and Grand Army will get 3 inches since it is a new surface over gravel, Feldmann said.

The roads should last about seven to 10 years, he said.

The county commission this year decided to stop converting roads from gravel to asphalt for the time being and to move more into a road maintenance program.

However, Feldmann said part of the agreement for Grand Army Road was already in place when the commission decided to stop the gravel-to-asphalt conversion program.

Some property owners were compensated in different ways for right of way, Feldmann said. One had 300 feet of his driveway paved for $12,000; another got a reconfigured driveway entrance and was paid about $4,000; and another was paid about $4,000, Gadcke said

Feldmann hopes the paving on the roads can begin in the next two weeks and said it should take about two weeks to finish.

Resident Disagrees

Villa Ridge resident Eric Reichert addressed the commission about the paving contract and said it should have been tabled.

He said the commission needs to “rethink” spending $435,000 on the paving work. Grand Army does not need to be surfaced, Reichert said, adding that Decker Road also does not need work.

Gadcke said Reichert is entitled to his opinion.

Reichert said the money could have been better used to pave Robertsville Road, which he said is a “major feeder road for the county.”

Robertsville Road gets much more traffic and is in much worse shape than Decker Road, Reichert said.

“Drive the roads commissioners,” Reichert said. “Spend our money wisely.”

But Feldmann said this work needs to be done.

Gadcke agreed that Robertsville Road is the heaviest traveled county road after Bend Road. But she said Robertsville Road has received patching and is getting striped this year.