MONTICELLO — The Piatt County road that buckled near Monticello last week should get a new surface in two years.
There were already plans to resurface Piatt County Highway 4, which was closed for four hours on June 26 when it expanded along a seam in the late afternoon heat. It raised the road about a foot in that spot, and forced the road closure from about 3 to 7 p.m. last Thursday.
The good news is the road — known as the Monticello Road — is in the county highway department plans for a $4.5 million asphalt resurfacing project in 2016.
"It's been in the works and it's been in the federal program for a while now, and it just takes a while to secure that funding," said Piatt County Engineer Eric Seibring. He hopes to start negotiating this summer for right-of-way needed for the project, and wants to move utilities next summer and let bids for the resurfacing early in 2016.
Federal funding should pay for about 80 percent of the project, added Seibring.
The new roadway would have the same width, but will add a four-foot asphalt shoulder in addition to another two feet of gravel beyond that. The surface would replace the current concrete one laid in 2000.
Monticello Highway Township Commissioner Charlie Montgomery said it is the third buckled road he has seen on county roads this year, and said it may be due to the excessive moisture from winter and spring expanding in the summer heat.
"But this is the first one we've had that was the full width of the road," Montgomery said. "Others have been half a lane, or a quarter lane, but never full width."
The county worked with city of Monticello and Piatt County officials to cut up and haul away the affected concrete and put gravel in the gap so the road could be reopened by mid-evening on June 26
Montgomery said township officials are keeping their eye on hot spots on area roads to make sure problems are addressed before buckling occurs. That includes another one on Highway 4 near Monticello Middle School.