Supervisors cite critical need for bridge, road repair funding

Published 10:40 am Tuesday, March 18, 2014

THE DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Lincoln Civic Center representative William Kimble requests future funding for construction projects at the center.

THE DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Lincoln Civic Center representative William Kimble requests future funding for construction projects at the center.

Citing a “critical” and “immediate” need for county bridge and road aid at Monday’s board of supervisors meeting, District Three Supervisor Nolan Williamson sounded the alarm for increased infrastructure funding from the state, citing concerns of further “deterioration of our local road and bridge network.”

Williamson reported on his ongoing efforts to procure money from state representatives at Monday’s board meeting. In a letter addressed to Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Speaker of the House Philip Gunn, Williamson asked state officials to appropriate an additional $35 million through 2016 in road and bridge repair funds, or “until a permanent solution is implemented to adequately fund local transportation needs.”

“Dear State Leadership Team, I am writing to urge you to take action immediately to provide assistance to counties for local transportation funding … (The current level of) funding is not adequate to make repairs considering the great maintenance needs related to deteriorating local roadways as well,” Williamson wrote.

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It’s an ongoing effort for the District Three supervisor and former board president, one made even more pressing by recent extreme temperature fluctuations this winter that have further damaged county roadway surfaces.

“The weather we have had has been devastating to our roads. We are doing everything we can do to patch them up, and make repairs. However, we will need help,” he said.

Specifically, Williamson is asking for an additional $5 million per year in funding to the counties for bridge repair. He is also asking for an additional $20 million per year for the Office of State Aid Road Construction, or State Aid. Finally, Williamson asked the state to consider spending an additional $10 million per year to counties for the Local System Bridge Replacement program.

According to Williamson, Lincoln County has already made repairs to “at least five bridges that would otherwise be closed until replacement funding becomes available. Repair costs for these projects have averaged approximately $25,000 per bridge, much less than the average replacement cost of $300,000 per bridge, Williamson said.

Williamson proposed that state funds be distributed to each county based on the number of deficient bridges within the county.

In articles in a recent “Progress” edition of the newspaper, Mayors Alton Shaw of Wesson, Dave Nichols of Monticello and Lane Reed of Meadville echoed Williamson’s concern over stagnant funding in light of increasing construction and maintenance costs.

In other board business, the board approved a request from Lincoln County Civic Center representative William Kimble to apply for a grant to make repairs and construction at the Lincoln County Civic Center. The grant would pay for half of the renovation and construction work totally $100,000, leaving $50,000 in county spending.

Kimble, who is also a member of the Baseball Facility Concept Marketing Team, updated the board on progress his team has made on a proposed youth baseball complex at Monday’s meeting. “We will have much more information in the coming weeks. By the time I report back to you, we should have a better idea of costs,” Kimble said. Dungan Engineering officials are assisting with appraisals on the Lincoln County-owned area.

In other matters, it’s spring cleaning time for the county. Ronnie Durr, Solid Waste Litter Control coordinator, notified the board about annual cleanup efforts the Solid Waste Department will be providing for county residents starting in April.

A special dumpster will be located in county areas, spanning all districts, where residents can drop off furniture, mattresses, TVs, clothes, building materials and similar items. Residents will be allowed to drop off batteries, personal tires and white goods on the ground near the dumpster as well.

Between April 3-6, the dumpster will be located on Monticello Street, just east of County Farm Road.

Between April 10-13, there will be a dumpster at Newman Road and Old Highway 51.

Between April 17-20, the dumpster will be located at Highway 51 and Brister St.

Between April 24-27, the dumpster will be at the intersection of Jackson Liberty Road and West Lincoln Drive.

Finally, during May 1-4, residents will be able to unload approved items at James Case’s store on California Road.

Paint, oil, commercial tires or household garbage will be prohibited at the dumpsites, Durr said.

The board of supervisors will meet again March 31.