Did you know?
Why do we have a County Public Works Department?
Because each county in Oregon maintains its own local road system. Our primary job is to assure Josephine County’s roads, bridges, traffic signs, and rights-of-way are designed, built and maintained to provide you with the best-possible, safest transportation system.
We work so you can travel safely and conveniently to work, school, and play, and do everything else you do in Josephine County without worrying about the roads that take you to your destinations.
Who works for the Department?
Josephine County employs over 60 dedicated and skilled men and women in the Public Works Department. Many work on crews that maintain your roads and bridges. Others work as engineers, accountants, fleet mechanics, and customer service representatives in our office.
Working from our headquarters in Grants Pass, we do regular maintenance and emergency repairs on approximately 561 miles of County roads; about 200 bridges and structures; approximately 13,000 road culverts; more than 8,600 sign installations; and hundreds of miles of rights-of-way.
Our job is to protect and preserve the road investments Josephine County residents have made over generations. Your county roads would cost more than $370 million to rebuild today, and your bridges an additional $60 million.
What kind of road work gets done by County crews?
Routine road maintenance includes repairs to the road surface like sealing cracks and filling holes caused by weather and heavy use. It means checking and repairing bridges to assure they're safe and meet the most stringent standards.
But maintenance is more than routine road repairs. Using a process known as "chip sealing", that utilizes a mixture of liquid asphalt and crushed rock, JCPW has historically resurfaced an annual average of about 40 miles of road.
Signing and striping crews mark pavement for traffic control and install traffic signs to advise motorists. Our vegetation management crews have responsibility for controlling vegetation along roads so drivers have safe lines of visibility. Roadside drainage ditches are cleaned and maintained to carry away storm water and reduce the damages of water accumulating on the pavement.
County Forces also haul and stockpile the rock for much of our roadwork. The County has a few shale pits and hard-rock quarries, and numerous gravel stockpile sites. These sites provide the material for routine maintenance on county roads and special construction projects.
During emergencies such as floods, landslides, or icy road conditions, we remove hazards that could threaten public safety along county roads.
Who pays for all this?
The Public Works Department has one primary source of revenue which provides nearly all annual funding: state motor vehicle fuel taxes and vehicle registrations. A smaller portion of annual revenues comes in the form of timber receipts from United States Forest Service lands in Josephine County. These two revenue sources are referred to as "designated road funds" because they are required by law to be spent for roads and road repairs.
The Public Works Department receives NO Josephine County property taxes to funds its operations.
Does Public Works do other things besides road work? Public Works employees design and construct many improvements to serve the growing population of the County. Staff engineers design and oversee projects (such as roads, bike lanes, bridges, and storm drains) that are done under contract with private construction companies.
Our work along the roads is easy to see, but Public Works also does a lot that you may not readily notice. In addition to maintenance on Public Works’ own specialized fleet of vehicles and heavy equipment; our mechanics are responsible for the repair and upkeep of the County vehicle fleet. Public Works also manages the county's North Valley Industrial Park and oversees the solid waste programs, which are focused on the decommissioned Kerby and Marlsan Landfills.
What other public agencies do we collaborate with?
Public Works frequently works with the cities of Grants Pass and Cave Junction and with other county departments (such as Fair, Parks, Airports, and Forestry) on projects approved by the County Commissioners. We also work with state and federal agencies on special projects which are jointly funded. Using our drawings, surveys, and road inventory, we help local engineers, surveyors, and contractors plan construction and other improvement projects.
Do we plan new roads?
We review all plans for new construction which might impact the County's road system and help owners and developers establish road access and public facilities necessary when lands are divided and new homes and businesses are built.
Why do we need all this?
Public Works is working for you and everyone else who lives in Josephine County or travels through - by providing the roads, and services that help make travel in Josephine County safe, convenient, and enjoyable.