But, county officials aren't too happy themselves with the reasons why the road was chosen for the repaving.
The repaving on Harmony Road is being paid for by funds made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Stimulus), but there restrictions on which roads qualify.
"When the Stimulus was passed, we met with County Highway Superintendent Pete Foster to determine what were the worst roads in the county that needed work," Clay County Commissioner Paul Sinders said. "However, all the roads we came up with were rejected because they did not meet the Indiana Department of Transportation's (INDOT) requirement of being classified as a Major Connector or Minor Arterial."
Upon review of roads in the county which did qualify for Stimulus funds, it was found that only two county roads met the requirements set by INDOT's Local Pavement Preventative Maintenance Project Criteria.
On July 29, 2009, the project award for resurfacing on Bowling Green-Poland Road was given to Dave O'Mara Contractor, Inc., North Vernon, Ind., which bid 582,727.10. The work to repave Harmony Road, from Ohio Street in Center Point to Jackson Street in Harmony, was awarded to Wabash Valley Asphalt Company, LLC, Terre Haute, which provided the lowest bid at $734,382.98.
"Harmony Road was already one of the best in the county and really didn't need work done on it compared with other county roads," Clay County Council President Mike McCullough told The Brazil Times. "The commissioners were the ones who had to apply for it, but they weren't even able to choose the contractor."
After the applications were submitted, control was completely taken out of the hands of county officials.
"The funding itself doesn't even come to the county," Sinders said. "The money distributed out of the Stimulus on these projects are administered by INDOT only."
Sinders was also frustrated with the portion of Harmony Road that was chosen for the work.
County officials also felt the funding would be better served if it could be administered on the local level.
"We are real passionate to the concerns about the roads, but we had no control over this issue," Commissioners' President Charlie Brown said. "There is a better understanding about what work needs to be done on the local level, and we know which roads need to be worked on the most."
Despite the will to fix other roads, Sinders acknowledged the need to take what they could get.
"I can't argue with the complaints of the residents because we feel the same way," he told The Brazil Times. "But, we spent $10,000 on engineering and got about $1.4 million out of our investment to repave these two roads, which is a pretty good return."
Sinders added commissioners in other counties have also expressed frustration about having no control over what the funding goes for, but recognized sometimes they have to just take what they can get.
"It will be a benefit down the line because hopefully we won't need to work on those roads for quite a while, but if we didn't put in for this funding, it was going to be spent somewhere else," Sinders said. "We are taxpayers as well, and while we want other roads to be fixed, when you have to say in the matter, you just have to play the game and get what you can."
"If we aren't allowed a choice or a say in something regarding our own county, then why do they have us in this position," Commissioner Jack Withers said.
What roads qualify?
According to Indiana Department of Transportation's Local Pavement Preventative Maintenance Project Criteria for The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Stimulus), there are specific program eligibility requirements that must be met in order for a repaving project to be submitted for consideration. One of the requirements specifies that a particular road must be on the Federal-Aid Highway System, and be classified as a Major Rural Collector or higher (Rural Interstate, Rural Principal Arterial and Rural Minor Arterial).
The following is a list of roads in Clay County that fall within this requirement, along with its classification:
* Interstate-70 -- Rural Interstate,
* State Road 59 (north of County Road 1100 North and south of County Road 800 North) -- Rural Minor Arterial,
* State Road 46 (east of SR 59) -- Rural Minor Arterial,
* United States 40 (east of Harmony, and between CR 550 W and 700 W) -- Rural Major Collector,
* State Road 340 (between CR 550 W and 700 W) -- Rural Major Collector,
* State Road 46 (west of SR 59) -- Rural Major Collector,
* State Road 42 -- Rural Major Collector,
* State Road 157 -- Rural Major Collector
* State Road 246 -- Rural Major Collector,
* Bowling Green-Poland Road -- Rural Major Collector, and
* County Road 200 East aka Harmony Road (south of CR 900 N, excluding between CR 700 S and 800 S, ending at State Road 157) -- Rural Major Collector.
Some roads change classifications depending on the area it flows through. For example, State Road 59 is primarily classified as a Rural Minor Arterial, but between County Roads 800 North and 1100 North, the classification changes to Urban Principal Arterial, which is not eligible for Stimulus funding.