Road, bridge advisory board readies to unveil revised list of repairs

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

If Cape Girardeau County has already spent money on a road to prepare it for paving, that road should be the first to receive a layer of asphalt.

Next to receive work would be the roads where everyone along the right-of-way has agreed to provide the easements needed to bring the road up to county standards.

A third group, designated as an experiment with a cheaper paving method, would be the roads that require little or no work to meet county requirements.

A final group, which could include roads where gaps in grants of easements or islands of asphalt are already in place, would be the next priority.

That's the hierarchy that members of the County Road and Bridge Advisory Board will likely be using when they unveil revised lists for county roads in two weeks, members decided Monday evening.

The idea, board vice-chairman Ken Evans said, is to show taxpayers that the 11-member board means business when it comes to turning the promise of paving gravel roads into reality. "We would like to get a more aggressive schedule in front of county commissioners than they have money to do," Evans said.

The priorities have grown out of almost five months of meetings by the advisory board. The panel has met almost every week for the past several months, and a subcommittee reviewing the list of paving projects promised last year found that roads with incomplete easement packages are, many times, listed ahead of those where everyone along the road wants paving.

The county's paving policy requires that all landowners along a road sign easements giving the county 30 feet of right-of-way from the center of the road. The policy also directs that roads be paved on a first-come, first-served basis unless county commissioners decide to make a road a priority.

By careful review, Evans said advisory board members can make a strong case if changes are made in the previously announced list.

Board member Dale Kester agreed. "If we do two times as many roads as we originally listed, I don't think anybody should have any complaints."

If the proposal for ranking roads remains unchanged, the first two groups would be paved with standard asphalt. The experimental group would get chip-and-seal pavement, which uses a thick layer of oil covered with loose, small gravel. A few days later, a final coat of oil finishes the road.

Roads in the experimental group will connect state-maintained roads to help create paved corridors through the county.

After adopting the new priority list, board members will take their ideas to the county commission as well as to the public. The board plans a series of public meetings around the county in April to discuss its proposals.

335-6611, extension 126

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