Cape Girardeau Co. uses own workers for summer paving

By Kathy Sweeney - bio | email

CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY (KFVS)- It was a cooler, more comfortable end to a long, hot summer for the county crew finishing up work on CR 444 Monday.  The men have spent much of the summer paving more than seven miles of road across Cape Girardeau County.

"I think they've done real well," said County Public Works director Don McQuay. "They've all adjusted to it and they've all learned new skills."

The new assignment came after District One Commissioner Paul Koeper laid out the difference between hiring an out-of-town crew, and keeping this work in house.

"It was where we could save some money, because we need to save some money," Koeper said. "We need to save everything we can in the county with things getting tighter and tighter."

So the workers all got on-the-job training as they paved several county roads, including CR 422 north of Daisy, CR 256 and 259 north of Delta, and CR 444 south of Oak Ridge.

The biggest challenge, McQuay says, came from the searing summer heat.

"When you've got your material coming out around 350 degrees and it's 100 degrees outside, the lower temperatures right now have really helped us a lot," McQuay said.

Cape Girardeau County made the move to put more money into county roads four years ago, after a voter-approved half cent sales tax opened up more than $1 million extra dollars for paving and maintenance.

But, Koeper says paving can run some $230,000.00 a mile in prep work, materials, and labor. He estimates the county saved between $50,000-100,000 by using its own manpower this summer.

"I really didn't see any downside at all to it," Koeper said. "None at all. I thought the guys worked very well together. They took a hold of it like it was something they really wanted to do."

Koeper says there's still another 30 miles of road in Cape Girardeau County cleared for paving.

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