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Sparks and His Road Paving


Tommy Reeves

Today's younger citizens who are accustomed to driving air conditioned vehicles on hard surfaced streets and roads, have no conception whatsoever of those costs to taxpayers, (which includes most of them) in order for us to be able to enjoy the comfort an convenience of traveling those roads, free of dust in dry weather and mud in the rainy seasons.

Most old timers - such as I - can remember when dirt streets and roads were the norm, and even school buses became stuck in the mud or were swallowed up in dusty clouds of soil every trip they made.  Thanks to men of vision we are now blessed with good hard surfaced roads almost everywhere and interstate highways coast to coast which have travel time to hours instead of days.

Here in our Haralson County we are now fortunate in having as our our commissioner one of these men of vision, Amos Sparks, who is utilizing a new method of paving dirt roads which will save tax payers thousands of dollars per mile by eliminating the common practice of hauling 5,711 tons of gravel per mile as a base, which eliminates normal wear and tear needed!

Commissioner Sparks utilized this process in paving five miles of county roads this year in order to satisfy himself that the process was feasible.  Instead of applying the normal six-inch compacted base, the native road bed was blended with a motor grader and then a diluted enzyme mixture (Nutra-Bond) was applied to the road surface causing it to harden.  It worked so well, and saved so many tax dollars, that he accepted an invitation to visit China and demonstrate the method to the Chinese, quite an honor for Commissioner Sparks and our little county of Haralson.

The enzyme, produced by a company in California, is environmentally friendly and safe to use.  It takes approximately fifteen gallons of enzyme to prepare a one mile stretch of road.  The mixture is applied at a ratio of one gallon of enzyme to one thousand gallons of water.  After the enzyme is applied, the road surface is again blended by a road grader.  When dry (24 hours), the surface is compacted using a hydro-pac roller, then it is primed, sanded and normal triple treatment process completes the job.

The enzyme costs for one mile stretch of road are $5,250.00 (for 15 gallons)!  Wear and tear on gravel trucks... none; hourly wages for truck drivers... none; base gravel... none.  SO the savings per mile are substantial!  Commissioner Sparks said that he intended to utilize the triple treatment process and complete the paving in China as he does here, but the Chinese were so happy to have a rock hard surface on which any vehicle could travel that they declined to complete the process!  He said the trip was interesting, no cost to the taxpayers, and he felt highly honored to be invited to demonstrate this money saving method to a third world country.  He also stated that the difference between their way of life and ours is amazing, and that he was really glad to get back to good old Haralson County!

Glad to have you Back Commissioner Sparks!