August 29, 2013 9:50:19 AM
Nathan Gregory - firstname.lastname@example.org
Construction season may not be over, but all of Lowndes County's road improvement projects budgeted for this year wrapped up last week.
Thirty-three roads were either overlaid, chip-sealed or given double bituminous surface treatment during the summer months. That means easier, safer travel on county roads determined to be in the greatest need of large-scale repairs, county road manager Ronnie Burns said.
In all, about 2,327,990 square feet of roadwork was completed. The road department contracted APAC to overlay 15 roads for $553,506.40 and B&M Paving out of Fulton to reseal 12 roads for $276,517.10 and pave six roads that previously were gravel for $424,949.60.
Meanwhile, county road crews dressed the shoulders of 95 miles worth of the county's 36 state aid roads with clay gravel and painted all the county's bridges in preparation for the county's annual state inspection in October. They replaced about 90 driveway culverts and installed 17 new ones at main county thoroughfares, Burns said. County crews also cut grass along county roads four times this summer, double the usual number, because of the abnormally high volume of rain.
Double bituminous surface treatment is the process of removing gravel from an unpaved road and preparing a dirt surface so a road company can apply two layers of tar and rock on top of each other. That was done on Winters Cove and Lollar Road in District 1, Brownlee Drive in District 2, West Minnie Vaughn Road in District 4 and Limerock Road and Allison Hardy Road in District 5.
Overlays were done on Steens Vernon Road, Kal Kolola Road and Payton Haley Drive in District 1; Oakdale Drive, Walnut Drive, Horseshoe Loop and North Chestnut Drive in District 2; McCully Road, Mount Vernon Road, East Plum Street, Quince Circle and Circle Drive in District 3; and Thompson Street, Front Street and Evans Road in District 5.
Chip seal surface treatment was done on Duncan Road in District 1; Land Road, Oak Drive, Joel Road, Waverly Road and Lincoln Road in District 2; Chat and Chew Road, Plum Grove Road, Whispering Pines Road, Fairport Road and Swedenburg Road in District 4; and Sumter Road in District 5.
The amount of length and width rehabilitated on each road varied, but each district received about the same amount of overall road work, Burns said.
"You may do six roads in District 1 that are real short and do two in District 2 but they're long," he said.
Now that the latest round of road projects is complete, it will soon be time for Burns to determine which roads will be put on next year's project list. What he receives when the 2014 county budget year begins in October will determine how many roads he can put on that list.
That list is substantial almost every year, Burns said, but he's pleased with what was completed this summer.
"Safety is the number one thing," he said. "I know we've got some more roads that need paving, but you can't do all of them at one time. It's expensive, and we try to do what we can with the means we have to do it with. We've got some that need work done and we're going to try to address them, but you can't do it overnight.
"I'm happy with most of the roads in this county and the way they look. I think they're in good shape," Burns added. "I think the roadsides are in good shape. They're mowed so when you pull up to an intersection you can see. We do have a little problem with some of the asphalt, but we're trying to take care of that when we can and money allows us to. We try to keep the grass mowed, shoulders clayed and keep everything in good shape."
No current projects in city
Last year, the city of Columbus finished $3.8 million in paving projects through general bond obligation money. That amount was used from an overall bond issue of $8.8 million, according to a previous Dispatch report. The city applied for a Surface Transportation Program grant through the Mississippi Department of Transportation in 2011 but has yet to receive word on whether or not funding was approved.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.