Trustees approve chip and seal, search for suitable material

WEST POINT-Madison Township Trustees this week approved 3.74 miles of township roadway to be included in the county’s yearly chip and seal program.

Trustees say that, like many other area townships, the total mileage to be included in the program has decreased significantly when compared to years past. However, before the township can proceed with any sort of chip and sealing, trustees will need to track down a suitable slag. Adn, according to officials, with a drop in activity at blast furnaces across the state, that may be easier said than done.

When it came to deciding which roads to include this year, trustees had an added tool in the decision-making process, thanks to Trustee Chairman Glen Smith.

Smith developed, what he termed, a “long range plan”- a binder compiled with extensive data on township roadway mileage and material costs from years past.

Fiscal Officer Tiffany Chetock commended Smith for developing the plan, which she said is a useful tool when budgeting.

“I call it my Bible for looking at where we’re going in the long term,” said Smith.

Trustees originally intended to chip and seal 5.74 miles during this year’s chip and seal program, but, due to a lack of funding, it was decided to reduce that number 3.74 miles.

Roads included in the program this year are Guy, Elkton-West Point, Roller Coaster, Applegate, and Cusick.

Smith told trustees that, based on his plan, the township may be able to save money by using a different type, or size, of slag.

“When I started looking and comparing numbers for 6M slag, it takes 0.6 gallons per yard, which increases things by $30,000 for the same mileage,” said Smith. “So then I looked at number 7 or 8 (slag), it only take 0.4 gallons per square yard and it’s significantly cheaper to do it that way.”

Smith said he wanted to explore all options, and is not committed to changing the size of the slag. He noted that changing slag size could free up money to use in other areas of road maintenance, including the township’s own chip and seal program.

“I’m not saying this is the gospel or this is the way we should do it, but I think we ought to think about it,” said Smith, urging feedback from his fellow trustees.

Trustee Mint Cook said, in his experience, neither numbers 7 and 8 slag builds up the road surface in the same way that 6M slag does. Trustees noted that some 6M slag from certain companies appears to lack in terms of quality and some companies are not producing slag at all. Road departments in other nearby townships are also having trouble locating good quality 6M slag, according trustees.

Ultimately, trustees approved the 3.74 miles of township roadway to be included in the county program, and also agreed to obtain slag samples from various companies in order to see which has the best quality.