As officials across the state take heat from the handling of last week’s “snowjam,” Bartow County Road Department Director Randy Gray has had it relatively easy.
Gray himself spent days at the Bartow County Emergency Management Agency emergency operations center coordinating efforts with various agency heads to get the county back to normal as soon as possible.
“... Bartow County clears the roads in a priority order so we can most rapidly reduce the number of stranded motorists and render aid with emergency vehicles. The first roads to be cleared are the major through-streets,” Gray told The Daily Tribune News this week. “This allows the congestion to get moving and clears the intersections so we can then concentrate on clearing the secondary roads, which allows the largest number of motorists to get home. After that, we start clearing the rural roadways.”
Beginning as an equipment operator in 1991, Gray now operates the 50-plus person department on a $4.5 million budget. With more than 850 miles of roads to maintain, Gray said the county’s administration makes doing his job easier.
“... I get a lot of envy from other road department heads because I have one boss and can get answers on issues nearly immediately. It makes taking care of Bartow County a much smoother process.”
Name: Randy Gray
Occupation: Director of the Bartow County Road Department
City of Residence: Adairsville
Family: Wife, Bridgette
Education: Adairsville High School
How did you career path lead to the director of the road department?
A: I started at the Bartow County Road Department in 1991 as equipment operator on the grade crew. I was promoted to grade foreman in late 1997 and then moved up to assistant road director the end of 1998. I was the assistant road director until 2005 and was promoted to director in 2005.
What is the largest issue facing roads and transportation in Bartow County?
A: Getting the traveling public in and throughout Bartow County safely. That ultimately means having to update and widen major roadways, including state routes to relieve congestion.
What is one of the most unique road situations you have ever encountered?
A: Spring Place Road had a section of it settling down several years ago. We drilled test holes to see what was going on, and we found large voids underneath the road that were in solid rock. So we needed to X-ray all the area to get a visual of what was there and come up with a solution to repair the road.
The first thought was to excavate the area and fill the voids, but we found the voids were stacked up like hotel rooms and had several feet of rock separating them. This would make excavation nearly impossible without making an extremely large excavation site and blasting through all the voids, thus making a rock quarry in the middle of a county roadway. Instead, we used the option of pressure grouting the voids without excavation. It was a new experience to the Bartow County Road Department and was a very efficient repair. This involved pumping concentrated concrete mix into the voids to seal them.
The process was such a great success that the contractor was able to raise the settled section of roadway back up to its original grade. Once complete, it was not easy to tell the road had ever been repaired.
How many miles of roadways does the county department maintain?
A: Bartow County has 856 miles of roadway to maintain.
<B>What is the most expensive part of road construction or maintenance?
A: Paving and resurfacing the roadways. Asphalt is petroleum-based, and just as gas prices have increased in the last several years, asphalt prices have increased.
What makes Bartow County special?
A: The citizens and sole commissioner, I get a lot of envy from other road department heads because I have one boss and can get answers on issues nearly immediately. It makes taking care of Bartow County a much smoother process.
What would be your ideal road trip? Destination and route please.
A: I have always wanted to visited the northwest portion of the United States, visit Yellowstone and continue to the redwood forests. I enjoy being in the outdoors; it’s an overwhelming peace.
A: Barbecue Ribs
Plane, train or automobile?
A: Plane is faster, if it’s a timing issue. If not, I enjoy automobile travel — it allows you to see everything.
What is your favorite book or movie? And why?
A: Anything about guns, I am a gun lover.