I’m Benton Bartlett, and I am running for re-election as your Road Superintendent for Coffee County. The last seven+ years went by quickly, but now it’s time to get out and gain that support Coffee County voters have so graciously given me in the past. I humbly ask for your help in this 2022 election.
Over the last 7 years, I’ve made some changes. These changes included getting better equipment along with backup equipment. This reduced downtime and made us more productive. Repairing our broken trucks greatly increased productivity while reducing operation costs. Bit by bit, I have guided our Highway Department out of debt and into an operating budget with over a million dollars savings necessary for future projects. I have many plans in store for our county roads, however, I need your vote to make these plans happen for all of us.
We completed over 30 miles of hot mix roads and have plans for more miles. The average cost for each mile of hot-mix overlay is approximately $120,000 per mile. When working with such high-cost projects, budgeting is crucial. As Road Superintendent, I diligently utilize state and federal funding programs to improve our community’s infrastructure. Recently, we built a bridge that cost over $950,000.00 through the “High Priority Bridge Replacement Program” with zero cost to tax paying citizens. We then submitted requests for 4 more bridges, which are currently in the planning stages of construction. Your Coffee County Highway Department has put down miles of cold mix and chip sealed roads throughout the county, taking care of dead end and low traffic roads. Paving of this type requires warmer weather, but our team already has everything prepared for the upcoming season.
We recently utilized the Tennessee Safety Grant to improve signage and guardrails. We met just a few weeks ago to discuss using another such grant in the near future. To ensure road signs are clear of brush growth, we’ve added a 3rd crew on our mowing schedule. This allowed huge improvements, as they have successfully made over 4 mowing rounds through our county per season. I am currently working to add a mower with more capabilities that could also reduce our labor costs. This addition will give us a 4th mowing crew to keep roads safer with less payroll costs.
The equipment doesn’t matter if good, experienced operators aren’t at the wheel. At Coffee County Highway Department, we truly have some of the best! During a time where our entire nation struggled to get employees; our Coffee County Highway Department’s retention rate stayed strong! Our operators are extremely experienced, and our mechanics are second to none. It amazes me how they can work on such an array of different equipment and get it all fixed! And last, but by far not least, is Michelle at our front desk. She keeps us all in line. Your road department in Coffee County has good, dedicated, experienced people working for you.
At the Highway Department, we are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are times when one or more of our crews are out all night clearing roads. Less than a week ago, our team was out at 1AM clearing a mudslide from a Tullahoma backroad so folks could get to work safely the next day. In the last 5 years, we’ve had 3 weather events causing enough damage to warrant FEMA/TEMA relief money. The last time I can remember another weather event causing that much damage was in the early 1990’s. Throughout all those storms, your Highway Department worked tirelessly to ensure your safety on our county roads. I honestly couldn’t ask for a better team.
I want the people of Coffee County to know that I pride myself in working hard to get the most out of the department dollars. Please know my door is always open. Re-elect me, Benton Bartlett, as your Coffee County Road Superintendent.
Benton Bartlett, Road Superintendent
Coffee County Highway Department