County commission approves paving plan

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Cape Girardeau County Commission on Thursday approved road building recommendations from a panel of county residents who spent 600 hours over seven months studying every aspect of the county paving program.

Leaders of the Road and Bridge Advisory Board spent nearly 90 minutes with commissioners, explaining their study and recommendations that a new county tax pay for five miles of asphalt paving and 10-12 miles of chip-and-seal paving this year.

The advisory board was formed last year following the passage of a half-cent sales tax for roads and law enforcement. Beginning last October, the board met almost weekly and conducted four public meetings in April to explain their results.

The public meetings went remarkably well, Presiding Commmissioner Gerald Jones told the board members on hand for the meeting. "I've been to some public hearings, but I have never received an ovation," Jones said. "Instead, my posterior has been chewed on."

The road board divided county roads into four groups based on their compliance with county paving policies. One group was designated as priority roads because of previous commitments of money or manpower to prepare them for paving. Another group was lined up for paving based on the date when the request was filed, and another group was designated for an experiment in dust control using chip and seal paving. The final group includes other roads where at least one landowner has expressed interest in paving the road.

The ranking system, board vice chairman Ken Evans said, is a document that will be regularly updated as more residents sign easements required under the policy. The document sets a precedent, he said, adding that "to me, that is almost as important as the final product we are delivering."

For more information, check back at www.semissourian.com or read Friday's Southeast Missourian.

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