County advisory board plans for next year, ties up loose ends

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Even as Cape Girardeau County's road and bridge advisory board made tentative plans for 2009, members tried to tie up some loose ends during a Monday night meeting.

The board heard from three residents of County Road 623 who have been waiting years for paving.

Phyllis Sinn of 413 County Road 623 said she and her husband paid for paving more than 10 years ago. She said the county official who promised the work would be done has since died.

Chairman Larry Payne asked county highway administrator Scott Bechtold if a road could be built with smaller easements, a total of 40 feet instead of the 60 required since 1999.

Bechtold said it was possible, but the road "wouldn't be as good as the others" with 60-foot easements.

Another property owner, Bill Shivelbine, expressed concern that, while residents knew how to handle the blind curve and loose gravel on County Road 623, Procter & Gamble employees encountered a dangerous intersection where the road meets Highway 177.

Board member Bill Hahs indicated he was frustrated that the county had not enforced a 1999 policy to require 60-foot easements, but Sinn said many had signed the easements before the policy was adopted. Still, the board agreed, grandfathering in smaller easements wouldn't allow paving because two property owners are refusing to sign any easements.

The board agreed that any deviation from the county policy had to be approved by the county commissioners.

Sinn, her husband and Shivelbine thanked the board for trying to sort out the problem.

Bechtold reported to the board that construction continues on County Road 532. A U.S. Army National Guard unit had moved part of the road out of the path of Lovejoy Creek, and county workers have been planting seed on the slope into the creek and plans to put rock in to limit erosion, he said.

Bechtold noted that a second segment of the road that is also in the creek will require at least one bridge to cross the creek.

"We always called that a phase two, which was not on a schedule," he told the board.

He did not have an exact figure for costs to the county, but estimated it at $26,000.

Payne told the board he'd been visiting service clubs to talk about the county's paving program. He said people seemed most impressed by the cost of road preparation and the savings realized by chip-and-seal paving.

The board is meeting twice a month to put together the 2009 paving program. It agreed to set a Jan. 15 deadline for road easements to be signed, meaning any roads with incomplete easements will not get paved next year. The next meeting is set for 7 p.m. Sept. 2 at the county administration building, 1 Barton Square in Jackson.

335-6611, extension 127

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