Carter County deserves credit for getting innovative about its road surfacing efforts.

It is no secret that Carter County has its budget challenges. So does every rural county in America these days. Adding to the mix of course are the challenges that come with road upkeep and surfacing requirements. In light of the always rising cost of asphalt paving, these cost increases can absorb a huge chunk of rural counties' budgets if counties go at this from a do it the way we've always done it approach.

Carter County Judge Executive Mike Malone said recently the county is moving forward with its plans to use claycrete. “Claycrete” is a term used to define the product that stabilizes soil and reduces the likelihood of gravel and road surfaces washing away during heavy rain.

“The one thing that is neat about Claycrete is it permanently changes the way that clay repels water and you never have to add it again,” said Judge-Executive Mike Malone.

The county first implemented the use of Claycrete on two gravel roads off Ky. 7, Clearview Drive and Princess Lane. The road crews and Mr. Malone like what they've seen so far.

The county has ordered equipment that is expected to arrive in early July. They will start working with it immediately, weather permitting.

The magistrates of each district will randomly draw the order at which they will use the new equipment.

“For the first go around whoever wins it will get to do a road in their district,” said Malone. “So, the people can see that we are doing something.”

The product costs relatively the same as a gravel road. What makes the monetary difference is the reduction in the amount of times a road needs new gravel.

“We have so many miles of gravel roads in our county and it costs so much to pave (or gravel) them that I didn’t see a way that we could ever get there absent finding a pot of gold,” said Malone.

Carter County has its fair share of road issues. Every rural county does. As long as the technology works, you can't go too wrong considering what it costs to pave or lay asphalt. It is our understanding of this technology that there is much less maintenance resurfacing required on down the road. Yes, you have to pay up front for the equipment but as with anything, investment up front can pay long term dividends over the long haul.

We commend the county on trying something different and being willing to think outside the box when it comes to road surfacing.

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