More paving plan frustration at meeting of Cape Girardeau County's road and bridge advisory board

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Members of Cape Girardeau County's road and bridge advisory board met Monday for more than an hour but did not vote or arrive at any agreements, as the meeting agenda was not issued until after 2:30 p.m. Monday, later than is required by Missouri's Sunshine Law. Board members reviewed the 2009 paving plan and spoke with residents.

County commissioners last week approved county highway administrator Scott Bechtold's recommendations to pave a total of 9.45 miles this year, including segments of county roads 411, 412, 435, 361, 363, 383 and 501 at a cost of $1.4 million. No chip-and-seal pavement will be used this year.

Commissioners also approved Bechtold's recommendations to grade sections of county roads 512, 451, 256, 444, 387, 259, a total of 5.8 miles of preparation for $500,000. The commission dropped its own plan to grade County Road 250 in favor of a joint venture with Scott County.

Scott County Presiding Commissioner Jamie Burger said in a phone interview Monday that Scott County paving equipment will be used with paving materials provided by Cape Girardeau County to put a hard surface on 5,500 feet of road that crosses the county line. In Cape Girardeau County the road is 250; in Scott County it is 218.

"That's a road that would never, ever, get paved otherwise," Burger said.

Advisory board chairman Larry Payne devoted more than a half hour to County Road 422 resident Tim Stone, who gave a presentation on his eight-year quest for paving. He said he was unhappy to learn that the 1999 county paving policy negates a verbal promise made by county officials.

"I think we're doing an injustice here. He played by the rules," said advisory board member John Helderman.

Board vice chairman Ken Evans said "the exact, identical situation" existed for at least one road in every township and the board needed to adhere to the county policy.

Marvin McMillan, who lives on County Road 401, said he was upset to learn county roads 411 and 412, which have incomplete easements, will be paved before his, which has had complete easements for years.

Board member Bill Hahs told McMillan the county commission approved both roads for paving on May 18, 2006 -- before the advisory board was formed -- "and it has tied our hands," Hahs said.

The advisory board will vote on Stone's request along with a suggestion to revise the county paving policy at a 7 p.m. May 4 meeting. The recommendations must be decided by the county commission.

pmcnichol@semissourian.com

388-3646

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