The St. Charles County Highway Department is responsible for maintaining more than 800 miles of roads and public infrastructure and overseeing new road construction and improvements in the unincorporated portion of the county. The department has three divisions: Maintenance, Engineering and Construction.
The Maintenance Division is the largest, with approximately 100 crew members stationed at five facilities around the county. These crews perform the preventive maintenance and repairs needed to keep county roads safe and in good condition. In 2022, the division completed more than 1,600 work orders requested by the public in addition to planned road maintenance. In the winter months, Maintenance staff operate the plows that keep county roads clear of snow.
Staff in the Engineering Division coordinate technical plans for road upgrades or new construction projects. That often involves contracting outside specialists to design the road improvements, after which Engineering staff review the designs to ensure every detail meets county specifications. The planning and design stage can involve years of behind-the-scenes work before any dirt gets moved.
Once a road project is ready to proceed, the Construction Division works with contractors hired by the County to build the improvements. Construction Division staff ensure the physical work matches engineering plans, while prepared to adjust to any unexpected obstacles. This division also includes inspectors who verify that public infrastructure installed in private developments, such as subdivisions, meets the county’s requirements.
“The most important overarching quality for Highway Department staff is customer service,” says County Engineer John Lyons. “Each job has its own important skillset, but interacting with the public and listening to their concerns is something all staff members need to do well.”