Board to vote on road plan Monday

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Another week of study should be enough to finalize a plan for paving county roads, the Cape Girardeau County Road and Bridge Advisory Board decided Monday evening.

The board, by informal consensus, agreed that they would vote next Monday on the plan that will maintain past promises made for paving this year and recommend a list of roads for a dust control treatment. The decision by the 11-member board came at the end of an almost two-hour meeting that included detailed reviews of comments received during four public meetings on the road plan.

"I would like to have one meeting where we vote on it and get on down the road," said Ken Evans, vice-chairman of the board. "Let's put this puppy to rest."

The board must submit its plan to the Cape Girardeau County Commission for approval.

The road plan the board is expected to approve is one of the most ambitious paving plans for a single year's work in Cape Girardeau County. Voters approved a half-cent sales tax in August that is providing a sharp increase in money available for paving projects -- an anticipated $800,000 this year with $1.5 million or more annually in future years.

The plan for road paving will include about 13 miles of road that will receive a less expensive chip-and-seal surface. The roads are distributed throughout the county and are intended to test where the process can be successfully applied for dust control and to provide a hard road surface.

Chip-and-seal paving costs about $30,000 a mile; laying an asphalt mix on a road can cost $100,000 a mile.

Kenny Spooler, who has led a subcommittee studying dust control, said he wants a contract for chip-and-seal projects to be awarded by July 1 in order to provide an adequate construction season to complete the roads.

The lists of roads for paving meet the county's requirement that all landowners along a stretch of road sign easements giving ample room for the county to improve the road.

The board needs to put the plan before commissioners, Evans said when another panel member suggested new easement packages arriving in the wake of the public meetings could cause the plan to be revised.

"We will continually improve the process in the future," Evans said. "You are never going to get to an end point."

The board also discussed whether dead-end roads should be a low priority or be put into line on a first-come, first-serve basis like other paving requests. Board leader Larry Payne and county highway administrator Scott Bechtold said they think those roads should be treated the same as any others.

"From my standpoint, a dead-end road is a county road," Bechtold said.

"And taxpayers live along it," Payne added.

rkeller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 126

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