County uses last of road repair funds
by Rory Doyle
Jun 19, 2013 | 1044 views | 0 0 comments | 55 55 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bolivar County is preparing to move forward with two major road projects, according to County Engineer Bob Eley.

Eley and the Bolivar County Board of Supervisors opened bids recently for the countywide reseal project to be funded by state aid, and the reconstruction of Davis Street in Mound Bayou, funded by federal SAFETEA-LU money.

Kimes & Stone Construction Co. of Booneville was awarded the reseal bid at $1,355,246.01, while American Field Service Corporation of Madison was awarded Davis Street at $347,692.27.

Eley said the reseal project is a preventative maintenance project that will retouch 24 miles of state aid roads with tar and rock.

State aid funding for roads, which is awarded annually to the county at $750,000, can be saved or given in advance credits during the four-year term of a board.

“The state aid money is not nearly enough to maintain the roads, let alone build new ones,” said Eley. “We’re using more than half of the board’s state aid money to reseal less than 20 percent of the county’s state aid roads.”

Bolivar County currently has 140 miles that fit into this category.

“I’ve been saying this for years — the state aid road program is dramatically underfunded,” Eley added. “It’s not nearly as good as what we want it to be.”

Eley said the remaining budget would be utilized for other major road, bridge and reconstruction projects, but there simply isn’t enough money to bring all county roads up to par.

The complete renovation of Davis Street in Mound Bayou will be funded by SAFETEA-LU money, supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration.

The county was awarded the money years ago under the leadership of Congressman Bennie Thompson, and funding has already been used to complete SAFETEA-LU projects in Shaw, Pace, Beulah, Benoit and Gunnison.

“We’re thankful to finally to move forward with the last of the SAFETEA-LU projects,” said Eley. “It’s taken too much time already.”

County Administrator Will Hooker said he’s also energized to be checking the last development off the list.

“We’re ecstatic to close out on the final SAFETEA-LU project,” said Hooker. “The intent of the work is to provide quality roads to the citizens. We’re happy to do that through all the projects.”

Eley said the contracts have been mailed out and construction should begin at both sites by early July.

In other county road news, construction has been held up again at the culvert installation project close to the intersection of Yale Street and Bishop Road just outside of Cleveland.

Nearby property owners confirmed to Eley that two small private water lines run across the ground underneath Yale Street, which creates a problem for construction.

Work at the street has been put on hold until the board of supervisors can determine the best way to move the lines.

“I don’t know how private water lines ended up on county right of way,” said board Attorney Linda Coleman.

Drainage after heavy rains has become a serious issue in the surrounding area, and the overhaul requires installation of two pipes that are 70 feet long and eight feet in diameter.