Located in the townships of Sugar Grove and Freehold, is Peterson Hill Road, off Route 957.
It is an unpaved road where several residents live and enjoy majestic views over the valley and hills. This area is an Amish farm and country where sheep and cattle roam and gardens flourish. In other words, it is a typical and quiet cantonal road.
But the road has not always been so beautiful.
In 2017, the road was almost impassable. Weather this season has produced “at least six freeze-thaw cycles”, according to Township Highway Foreman Brian Larson. That numerous freeze-thaw cycles worsen road conditions, leading residents to believe the problem was beyond repair.
Township supervisor Alan Smith explained that they wanted to do something but couldn’t because the road was so muddy that the equipment needed to fix the problem couldn’t be used because it was too heavy to handle. These conditions. So it seemed like the townships were doing nothing when in fact they were waiting for Mother Nature to dry things up for the necessary repairs to be made.
The deep ruts of residential vehicles and Amish strollers mix with wet soil and a clay base to cause the problem. Then the ruts were almost 8 inches deep in some places. The ruts held back water that under normal conditions would reach the drainage ditches on the sides of the road. Instead, the ruts trapped the water and moisture from the melting ice and created a slippery, muddy mess.
On the worst days, residents reported taking alternative routes to reach their homes and destinations. Residents and supervisors were frustrated, but the patience finally paid off.
The township overseers knew they had to improve the base once it dried up.
It finally happened.
Smith said last year was a lot better weather wise and they were able to make improvements. The ditches, which appear to be fully functional, are there but dry due to the lack of recent substantial rain.