County seeking, finding road funds

Published 10:34 pm Monday, May 11, 2009

Money is tight for the Pike County Road Department, but that won’t put a halt on road and bridge repairs — at least not all of them.

In Monday’s Pike County Commission meeting, commissioners approved to advertise for bids for one bridge project, gave the OK to resurface another road project and discussed several others.

Among the top was a bridge on County Road 7708 that has been closed from flood damage since March.

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County Engineer Russell Oliver said the bridge repairs will be funded by state emergency funds, but the project will be contracted locally.

Commissioners approved to advertise for bids on the project for three weeks, and construction will likely begin in the summer, Oliver said.

The next project underway in the county is one that has been a long time coming — resurfacing of Henderson Highway.

After years of working to get funding for the 1.1-mile resurfacing, which will span from U.S. Highway 231 to KW Road, Oliver said it is close to beginning.

The commission signed an agreement with Industrial Access, one of the project’s main contributors, in its Monday meeting.

Other sources of funding have been accumulated through state funds, for what will be a close-to $730,000 project.

Oliver said he hopes this project will begin this summer, as well.

But, even with state and federally-funded projects, the commission could be scraping together some change to see them to completion.

With about eight projects either in the works or for which the county is seeking funding, Oliver said the commission may have to pay some money up front. While they will eventually be reimbursed for most of what has to be spent, Oliver said the amount could be up to approximately $1 million.

The commission will also have to decide in the coming weeks which of four county roads it will choose to have resurfaced or paved if funded by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

Oliver said Sandpile, St. John’s Church and Center Ridge Roads, along with Springhill Loop, are all potential candidates for the grant. The grant, which funds road projects with at least half the population considered middle to low income, must be applied for by late June.

In other business, the commission approved to replace the video monitoring system and cell doors, locks and steel hinges in the Pike County Jail.

The next scheduled meeting, which was set for Memorial Day, has been cancelled, and regular meetings will resume June. 8.