Roads already scheduled for paving this year will get first priority under a plan for Cape Girardeau County roads approved Monday evening by the Road and Bridge Advisory Board.
The board also included a second list of roads that could become candidates for testing chip-and-seal paving methods as a means of dust control and speeding up the paving program.
The proposal now goes to the county commission for consideration. In addition, the board plans to hold at least five town meetings across the county to explain the proposal.
To generate the proposal, a subcommittee poured over paving requests from county residents and ranked them based on completeness, age and how soon the paving had been promised in previous lists generated by the county commission, said Ken Evans, chairman of the subcommittee.
The purpose was to conform the priority list for paving to established county policies, which require that all landowners along a portion of road agree to provide necessary easements before being scheduled for paving.
In all, the proposal divides the county roads with paving requests on file into four lists. One covers roads promised this year, two more include roads where segments that connect currently paved roads have complete or near-complete packages of easements are on file. The final list is every road where at least one property owner has filed an easement. Those roads will not be paved until significantly more work is done to complete the package of easements, Evans said.
"This is a transformation document," Evans said. "We are trying to meet the intent of the policy."
Board chairmman Larry Payne said the purpose of setting the priorities was to organize the work that will be accomplished by money from a half-cent sales tax that took effect Jan. 1.
Where the proposal doesn't match with previous promises from the county commission, it is because the board is seeking to rationalize the process of paving, Payne said.
"It is going to step on some people's toes, not because we were doing something wrong but because we are coming from a different perspective," Payne said. "We are going to take some heat but we will work in some planning that is going to be good for Cape Girardeau County in the long run."
The list for paving this year includes about 8.5 miles of roads, about what was promised. The board hopes to also try chip-and-seal paving on at least two roads to test the method as a way of stretching the money.
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