Road closure tops concerns

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 24, 2001

for county and city


Staff Writer

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Improvement projects at the Troy Municipal Airport are causing city and county officials to consider closing a county road.

County Road 289, known as Oak Grove Road, is on the tips of tongues and will be the subject of discussion at a public hearing tonight.

Some of those who will be at Troy City Hall at 5 p.m. will be county commissioners, who tabled decision on the road closure until they can hear from the public.

"We want to find out what problems would be caused by closing the road," Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford told commissioner Monday night.

The city council could have closed the roadway without the county’s input, Lunsford said, adding the city leaders did not want to work in that manner.

"We appreciate your need," Commission Chairman Willie Thomas said, adding he wants to hear from those residents who would be affected by the closure.

Lunsford said the runway safety zone has to be a top priority in order to keep the airport license.

State regulations require a 200-foot safety zone at the end of the runway and it’s recommended the zone be 220 to 225 feet.

Cost of the project is estimated to be between $60,000 and $80,000.

Terry Macaluso, vice president of Barge Waggoner Sumner & Cannon Inc. in Dothan, told commissioners alternatives were considered, but "we kept coming back to closing the road.

"It just seemed to be the answer," Macaluso said of the road closure. "I did not make that recommendation lightly."

However, the FAA has informed him if the city plans to use federal dollars on the project, the runway needs to be brought up to standard.

Macaluso said the option of re-routing the roadway has been thrown out because of cost.

It would cost about $250,000 to re-route the road because of wetlands and a church cemetery in that vicinity.

"The pros of closing that road far outweigh the negatives," Macaluso said. "It is absolutely vital, although it’s something that will probably inconvenience some people on this road."

Tim Hornsby disagrees.

He fears for the health of his mother, who has lived on Oak Grove Road for 25 years.

Hornsby said the road closure would lengthen the time it takes to get to her house. The 2.78 miles would become 4.865 miles.

"If my mother had a heart attack, the rescue squad would have to travel twice as far," Hornsby told commissioners.

He also said his step father, who sold additional land to the city, was promised the road would never be closed.

Although his mother is his major concern, he said two school buses and mail carriers would also be inconvenienced by the road closure.

"It’s more than my mother that’s going to be affected," Hornsby said.

After hearing from Hornsby, the commission voted to have a public hearing at 4:45 p.m., Aug. 13.

In other business, the commission:

· Approved step raises for six county employees following annual evaluations.

· Did not take action on a travel request by Probate Judge Bill Stone because the Probate Office is over budget for travel.

The first motion to approve it and, then, talk to Stone failed because three commissioners abstained from the vote.

"If it’s over budget, it’s over budget," said Commissioner Larry Meeks, who abstained along with Commissioners Larry Penn and Ray Goodson.

The next motion was for County Administrator Mark Tyner to talk with Stone and see if the travel money can be spent from another line item.

· Approved a request from County Engineer Herb Huner to travel to Auburn for a class necessary to retain his commercial pesticide permit.

· Voted to change the name of County Road 8 at 10-mile Branch to Johnson Road. All property owners signed a petition favoring the change.

· Tabled decision on a liquor license application made by Angela Anthony for Club Paradise.

· Rejected the only bid submitted for office supplied. The bidder was not a local company.