Rhodes on Roads- Your section man has multiple tasks to cover

Your section man?the man who grades your road?is someone you probably know by name. His day normally begins at 7 a.m. when he radios the office to check in for the day. Of course, if there?s been a snow or ice storm the night before, his day starts around 3 a.m.

Each section man is responsible to maintain an average of 120 miles of dirt or rock road with a grader. He?s also responsible to maintain the ditches that, generally speaking, run on either side of those roads.

Sometimes we?re asked why the grader man sometimes grades loose dirt or rock to the middle of the road.

The answer is simple: Water runs downhill. If he didn?t from time to time build up the center of the road, but continued to push dirt to the side, eventually you?d have a large drainage ditch running right down the middle of the road.

Sometimes were asked why he leaves a small ?windrow? of dirt along one side of the road. This is the extra material he must have to fill any holes that might have formed since the last time he graded the road.

From time to time we?re asked why the grader is parked at the section man?s house?sometimes for several days at a time.

Besides grading roads, a section man has a number of other responsibilities, such as keeping brush cut out of ditches, or helping the road-maintenance people repair asphalt roads.

I assure you, these men work a full 40-hour week, rain or shine. After a heavy rain, you will find them checking for any high water that may be covering the road surface.

Section men work with the road supervisor in suggesting areas that need more rock. They notify maintenance when a culvert needs attention and pass along information in missing road and street signs.

Martin Rhodes is director of public works for Marion County. His office phone is 620-382-3761. His e-mail address is roads@marioncoks.net.

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