Cape Girardeau County Commission, road and bridge board to discuss 2009 paving plans at today's meeting

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A polite disagreement may be settled today when representatives of Cape Girardeau County's road and bridge advisory board meets with the county commission to discuss 2009 paving plans.

The advisory board voted Monday to suggest its own paving plan for 2009. The $854,000 plan includes about six miles of chip-and-seal paving for $423,500 and about six miles of asphalt paving. By endorsing the plan, the board rejected a recommendation by 1st District Commissioner Paul Koeper, who suggested nearly 10 miles of asphalt paving at a cost of $1.36 million.

In his cover letter, Koeper expressed his support for the board's independence but also appealed to the volunteers to back his commitment to halt chip-and-seal paving for at least one year.

All but one of the advisory board members agreed the chip-and-seal surface was a good value to the taxpayers and the paving program should continue.

The advisory board is recommending chip-and-seal paving for county roads 256, 259, 361, 363, 405 and 501; asphalt for total of 6.1 miles on county roads 250, 411, 412, 444 and 451; and preparatory grading for county roads 250, 256, 259, 444, 451 and 512.

Koeper's plan calls for asphalt for county roads 361, 363, 383, 405, 501, 411, 412, 250 and grading for county roads 256, 259, 387, 444, 451 and 512.

In 2008, some of residents living along some roads used to test chip and seal — a cheaper hard surface than asphalt — complained the new paving was failing. But problems are also evident on County Road 271, paved with asphalt in 2007, where a series of flaws have appeared, including a splitting center line.

Koeper, who is assigned the task of overseeing the county's road and bridge issues, promised during his campaign to meet with property owners and has already held a series of town halls. During his 2008 campaign, he suggested halting chip-and-seal work until 2010, to see how the existing road surfaces behaved over several seasons. He also promised to re-examine easement issues and work to rebuild trust in the county's road paving process.

His words are similar to those used by members of the road and bridge board, who have tried to consistently apply the county's paving policy, endorsed by the commission in 1999. Both Koeper and advisory board chairman Larry Payne have said the paving policy is flawed and needs to be rewritten. Until that happens, Payne said Monday, the advisory board is committed to following the policy as consistently as possible.

Neither Koeper nor Payne responded to calls Wednesday.

The advisory board's meeting with commissioners is scheduled for 10:45 a.m. today in the commission's administrative building chambers, at 1 Barton Square in Jackson.

pmcnichol@semissourian.com

388-3646

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1 Barton Square, Jackson, MO

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