McMullen Commissioner's Court hears about a possible road fix
by Christina Rowland
Mar 23, 2012 | 983 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TILDEN – Is there a magic fix to the road problems plaguing McMullen County? Thayer Rogers with RoadPacker Southwest thinks so and he is ready to prove it.

Rogers made a pitch to the McMullen County Commissioners Court on March 12 about the wonders of his company’s product. The company he represents is an ionic soil stabilization company which had technology approved for use in Texas last month but has been used on an international level for more than two decades.

Rogers told the court an important aspect to making the product, RoadPacker Plus, work was clay in the soil but as little as 15 percent clay is still OK. The clay, if not gathered from the direct subsurface of the road, can the gathered from nearby.

The first step in the process is a test the soil to see what is naturally occurring within it. Rogers said there are three different soil tests that are performed. One test is a hydrometer test or clay content, another test checks for pH balance and the last test checks for cation-exchange capacity or the quality of the clay. Once the clay content is either established or more is added it is mixed with water and the ionic stabilization mixture, made up of five acids, is then applied to the road.

The mixture would be spread on the road about six inches thick but could be spread on thicker if the county thought it was necessary.

After being spread, the product is immediately hard and ready to be driven on again.

Rogers feels the product is very cost effective compared to traditional roads.

“Traditional roads are $45,000 per mile, based on a rough estimate, and would still have additional maintenance cost,” he told the court. “Our product is $25,000-$35,000 per mile but with no ongoing maintenance cost.”

He went on to say that there was a “$175,000 to $300,000 saving per mile over 10 years,” because maintenance and upkeep was not being performed.

A sample of the product mixed with the clay was passed around the room for the commissioners to see the actual way it looks and the hardness of it.

“It gets tighter and stronger over time,” he said.

The cost of his product is just for the product and the training person. A certified trainer from the company would come in and show the county employees how to mix and apply the product using their own equipment.

Rogers say the product is not only water resistance but environmentally friendly and durable. It was laid on a road in Canada 14 years ago and he said the road is yet to be graded again.

“Seeing is believing,” Commissioner Max Quintanilla said.

Rogers volunteered for his company to come out and demonstrate the product on a portion of a county road. A soil sample will be analyzed and then the company representative will come back and apply the product. The county is hoping to have it scheduled in the next several weeks.

“I don’t know if the counties per se would have the money to get this done but with the cooperation of oil companies,” County Judge James Teal said.

All of the commissioners seemed enthusiastic about seeing the product in action before making any decisions.

Judge Teal said in a phone call later that he isn’t sure how much area they will put the product on but he is confident it will be enough to see if it works. The county is looking at high traffic areas now where it can be placed. After the demonstration, the county fathers will regroup and discus how they want to proceed.

In other items, the commissioners approved a plat at the corner of Hwy. 72 and Hwy. 16. Bo Wall of Slay Engineering said the plat is for a convenience store and Valero gas station that will be built at a later date. The court also approved the hiring of a temporary as needed prosecutor for the justice of the peace court. The number of people going through the court has increased in recent months and the temporary person will help keep up with the work load.

The next commissioners court meeting will take place on March 27.

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