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Paving needs focus of trip to Washington

Wesson Mayor Alton Shaw and Jeff Knight of Williford Gearhart& Knight recently took a trip to Washington to meet withlegislators about Wesson’s need for funds for pavement.

The delegation met with Second District U.S. Rep. BennieThompson, Third District U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering and U.S. Sen.Trent Lott, as well as U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran’s staff, Shaw saidabout the mid-January trip.

“We discussed an entire citywide overlay of the pavement in thestreets,” the mayor said.

Knight, the town’s municipal engineer, was there in an advisorycapacity, as Williford Gearhart & Knight is a consultingengineering and surveying firm.

“The mayor and board of alderman requested we prepare a proposedbudget to bring the level of service back up to an acceptablestandard,” said Knight. “Our estimate shows we need about $750,000,plus soft costs.”

All in all, the town of Wesson requested $850,000 torehabilitate the streets, including Highway 51.

Shaw said the talks seemed to be going in a good direction, andhe and Knight left with a good feeling.

“All the talks were positive, there was no negativity,” he said.”They all understood our position and said they wanted to help uswith this.”

It will probably be the end of the year before Wesson officialsfind out what can and will be done about funding the road overlays.According to Shaw, the town will follow up later on in the year,meanwhile keeping talks open with legislators.

Ambassadors from Wesson have visited Washington before, butnever with a specific cause.

“This is the first time we’ve been up there for a specificissue,” said Shaw, pointing out that the actual population ofWesson is around 1,200 to 1,500. “We tried to make it clear thatbetween the county school which serves the lower half of CopiahCounty, and Co-Lin, we have a daytime population of four to fivethousand.

“We need roads that can support that kind of traffic.”