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Jefferson County Roads

Jefferson County maintains over 260-miles of roadway.  In addition to the surface of the road, roadway maintenance includes a variety of issues such as guardrail, drainage, traffic control, vegetation management, and slope stabilization.  Each of these items is assessed individually. 

Roadway Surfaces

Hot Mix Asphalt

  • Total Jefferson County Roads = 151-miles
  • Resurface: 1.5 to 2.5-inches of asphalt obtained from an asphalt plant
  • Service life – 10-years
  • Advantages: Provides best surface course with regard to ride-ability
  • Disadvantages: High cost to install and maintain; service life and condition dependent on base strength of the road

Chip Seal

  • Total Jefferson County Roads = 108-miles
  • Application: A thin layer of asphalt emulsion and 0.5-inch of stone are applied to the road
  • Service life – 3-4-years
  • Advantages: Low cost; Prevents water penetration which reduces pot holes
  • Disadvantages: Provides little structural strength to road (however, the repetitive operation of patching and sealing adds strength over time); does not improve ride-ability; loose stone and wet asphalt are problematic during application


  • Total Jefferson County Roads = 1.5-miles
  • Advantages: Low cost and easy to maintain
  • Disadvantages: Poor ride-ability; dust and mud problems; easily damaged by weather or heavy loads


Guardrail is a recognized safety device to protect drivers along steep slopes, waterways, or fixed objects.  An Inventory and Needs Analysis completed in 1993 revealed that only 22.9-miles of guardrail existed along county roads.  Today, the over 84-miles of guardrail can be found along county roads.  Guardrail requires frequent repairs to retain its function.


Removing water from the road surface for maintenance and safety factors has always been a high priority of the County Engineer’s Office. 

  • Ditches: Maintaining adequate ditches along county roads is a continuous labor intensive process.  Due to our varying terrain, some ditches need cleaned of debris and sediment, while others need protected from scour and erosion.
  • Culverts: The County maintains almost 98,000-lineal feet of various size culverts.  90% are high density polyethylene (HDPE).
  • Other drainage structures such as catch basins, headwalls, storm sewers, and curbs are also used to aid in the control of storm water.

Traffic Control

  • Signs: The County uses three types of signs:  regulatory, warning, and guide.  We currently have close to 3,700 permanent signs.  Temporary signs are used during all construction activities. 
  • Traffic Lights: The County maintains one traffic light, at the County Road 22A and Springdale intersection, and five flashing school lights signs.
  • Pavement Markings: A field survey is conducted every year to determine the striping condition on each County Road.  The County Engineer’s Office stripes approximately 190-miles of roadway each year based on the results of the survey.

Vegetation Management

  • Mowing: The County contract mows all of the county roads three times per year, late spring, mid-summer, and early fall.  Hand cutting and weed cutting is used around signs, bridge abutments, etc., as needed.
  • Brush & Weed Control: The County Engineer’s Office has a computerized spray vehicle for the dispensing of herbicide.  County workers performing the spraying are licensed by the State Department of Agriculture.  Spraying is primarily performed along guardrail or areas obstructing driver vison.  In select locations, a boom mower is used to cut brush and small trees.
  • Tree Cutting: There are many benefits for removing trees from the road right-of-way:  eliminating vehicle/tree collisions, clearing ground for widening the road and shoulder, exposing the road surface to more sunlight (which ultimately results in longer road life), and reducing the number of trees which fall across roads during windy conditions.
  • Seeding & Mulching: The County strives to meet the EPA requirements for restricting storm water erosion and sedimentation, and establishing proper vegetation along road shoulders, ditches, and slopes. 

Slope Stabilization

Jefferson County’s steep terrain and soil types combined with wet weather are ideal conditions for slope failures.  Roadway slips are slope failures where the ground slides downhill, taking all or part of the roadway with it.  There are numerous ways to repair slips, with pile driving being the most common practice.  Landslides can also occur, where the ground above the roadway slides down onto the road.  Slope failures are unpredictable making it difficult to plan or budget for.