Rain-soaked lane gets some love

Lovers Lane during a recent storm. Photo by Nick Lovejoy

County Interim Director of Transportation Larry Perlin addressed the state of Lovers Lane and other county roads during a Tuesday meeting.

Perlin is one of two hired consultants, the other being James Walgren, to oversee the county’s Resource Management Agency after former Director Brent Barnes resigned in March. As director of the Resource Management agency, Barnes oversaw numerous departments including the planning division, public works and facilities, housing and economic development, park operations and more. His resignation came at a critical time for the county, as the department restructured earlier this year.

At the meeting, Perlin said Lovers Lane repairs were finished.

“The road is now serviceable and passable, but the repairs that have been done are in no way permanent,” Perlin said. “There will need to be some future work done out there to really remove the road subject to the flooding and drainage issues that can occur out there. That’s something that’s being looked into at this time.”

County roads were ravished by winter storms earlier this year, with Lovers Lane suffering some of the worst damage due to repeated flooding.

Perlin informed supervisors that work on the long awaited John Smith Road realignment could commence this year.

“Based on conversations I’ve had with the staff in (the Resource Management Agency), it’s our intention to get this work underway sometime later this year,” he said. “Calendar year, not fiscal year. The final design work needs to be completed and we’re working to get that done. There are some environmental issues I think we’ve finally overcome. It has to do with providing suitable mitigation for endangered species.”

During the road report, Emergency Services Manager Kevin O’Neill informed supervisors that Road Superintendent Jake Hubbell was no longer part of the county workforce. After the meeting, O’Neill confirmed Hubbell gave two weeks notice.

“As of yesterday, I’ve taken over some of the leadership roles to help bridge that gap on an interim basis,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill told supervisors he had a two-pronged approach to his new interim duties: boosting morale and prioritizing projects.

“We get a call from someone, we get an email and jump on it,” he said. “We take care of it right away, which is great. But as we get further away from the storms, we need to start doing the things we need to do every year. The grading, the weed abatement, just the normal potholes that pop up.”

He went on: “One thing I want to really work on is coming up with weekly and monthly schedules. That way when I do get a call from one of you guys saying, ‘This road at this intersection needs to be addressed,’ I can give you a pretty accurate timeline of when it’s going to be addressed. Then you can pass that on to your constituents.”

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