Roads to be maintained not repaved

Published 6:35 pm Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sometime between now and the end of the year, tar-stained roadmachines and shovel-wielding workers will spread out across LincolnCounty to repair and patch the roads listed in the county’sfour-year road plan.

Unfortunately, it’s a short list.

County supervisors’ term-length repair project has shriveleddown 37 total miles on 12 roads, a lowest-yet total brought on bybudget concerns, state funding shortages and expensive-as-evermaterials. That’s 14 fewer miles than the 2004-2008 plan, and thisterm’s project calls for repair work only – no repaving.

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“The board chose to do this project because it would allow themto maintain more roads,” said Ryan Holmes, with county engineersDungan Engineering, PA. “Basically, it just came down to trying tostretch the money. We were able to address issues on more roadsthis way.”

Holmes pointed out the project is about one year behindschedule, as bids for the job opened late last year were grosslyover budget, forcing supervisors to scrap the plan and start over.Thus, what was planned as a four-year reseal project transformedinto a four-year maintenance project.

“That just tells you how much costs have risen,” Holmes said.”Funding hasn’t specifically changed a lot, but materials are mostexpensive. It costs more to do work it used to.”

Supervisors on Tuesday accepted the low bid of approximately$959,000 from Brookhaven’s Dickerson and Bowen. The contract allowsonly 35 working days, a clause built in to spur the project toconclusion before 2011.

The Mississippi Office of State Road Construction is paying forthe project.

The project will see 12 roads patched and bases leveled in theirroughest spots and then restriped.

Included in the project are sections of Auburn Drive, two spotson Bogue Chitto Road, Brookway Boulevard Extension, CaseyvilleRoad, Dunn-Ratcliff Road, two spots on East Lincoln Road, Hog ChainDrive, two spots on Jackson-Liberty Drive, Lott Smith Road, NolaRoad, Pricedale Drive and Ruth Drive.

Board of supervisors president Doug Moak is worried the jobwon’t be enough to keep the county’s roads in good shape.

“This is a year overdue, and our roads have been deteriorating,”he said. “Plus, we had the harshest winter I can remember in years.We’ll be able to get the worst problem areas, but there’s stillthat amount of miles that need new sealing we can’t do.”

District Three Supervisor Nolan Williamson, whose districtcontains more than 300 miles of roads, said the maintenance projectis not what supervisors had hoped for.

“We’re happy with anything we can get, but we’re disappointedbecause it was cut so much,” he said. “Every one of us wants allthe State Aid roads resealed, but we can’t do it with that amount.We’ve just got to hunt the worst spots and take care of them.”