County Roads

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 31, 2009

Supervisors OK tweaked list of county roadwork

By Billy Davis
Panola County’s road department jumped back into the road improvement business this week, getting a belated start to the summertime ritual.

Road crews began hauling so-called No. 7 rocks to Longtown, Union and Hammond Hills roads to resurface those roadways, reported road manager Lygunnah Bean.

Work has also begun on Jaudon and Nelson Spur roads, where the road surface is being scooped up for a new layer of DBST, a rock and oil mixture that is less costly than asphalt.    

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Three road crews will work through the remainder of summer and into the fall, rotating among the county’s five districts, Bean said.

The county’s road improvement program stopped last year due to a tight budget, when supervisors, instead of raising millage, opted to halt the roadwork.

The road department resumed the paving program this summer after supervisors sought a five-year $1.6 million bond.  

The late-summer work will upgrade 35.5 miles of roadway at an expected cost of $837,258, according to figures Bean provided to The Panolian.

This summer, the county road crews are performing five road improvement tasks:

•Patching rough spots, at a cost of $898 per 50 feet;

•Resealing the road top, at a cost of $16,742 per mile;

•Resealing the road and filling in low spots, or “leveling,” at a cost of $21,877 per mile;

•Reconstructing the road, designated as “new construction,” at a cost of $72,945 per mile;

•Paving a gravel road with DBST, at a cost of $41,948 per mile.

To assure the paving program flows smoothly, Bean is overseeing a $1.8 million budget, most of it from the bond, which he plans to spread across 2010 and 2011. The remaining $200,000 comes from a FEMA reimbursement check related to storm damage in the county.

Bean had planned to budget $835,000 this summer, but he told supervisors last week the slight overspending, if kept at that amount, would still leave about $1 million for the next two summers.

After telling The Panolian he was concerned about overspending, Bean presented a revised list of planned road improvements to supervisors, when they met on July 22 for a budget meeting.

Supervisors sat in silence, rocking in their chairs, as they scanned a list that deviated from their own stated plans.

“Well, ain’t nobody smiling,” Bean finally said, breaking the silence.

“I think you’ve done a good job,” replied Supervisor Bubba Waldrup.

Bean went on to explain that he had compared supervisors’ wish lists with the conditions of the roads they requested. He then compared the necessary roadwork to its estimated cost.

Supervisors have already agreed to spread the $1.8 million evenly among the five districts, an agreement that deviates from past agreements that benefited some districts more than others.

That gentleman’s agreement allows for some wiggle room since a supervisor may choose to spend more money on fewer roads or stretch the allotted funds over more miles.

Each district’s project should total $167,000 to spread the $835,000 evenly around the county. A cursory look at the expected expenses shows some districts will be over, and some under, that amount.

In District 1, for example, an eight-mile reseal on Union Road is expected to cost $133,939, county figures show.

That road project is the costliest of any roadwork this summer and also gobbles up most of the $180,957 in estimated costs for that district’s roads.

In District 1, other roads slated for upgrades are Compress, John Harmon and Abe Chapel, which will receive patching work; and Hardin and Hammond Hill, which will receive reseal.

In District 2, road improvements are spread among nine roads at a total cost of $165,084. Roads slated for patching are Shell, Seven, Belmont, Curtis-Locke Station and Curtis (east end).

Longtown, Old Panola and Samuels roads will be resealed and leveled. Barnacre Road will be resealed.

In District 3, where Nelson Spur is being redone, gravel roads Jolly James and Fox Run will also be paved with DBST. The estimated cost of roadwork is $176,721.

In District Four, new construction improvements on a half-mile of Cline Road, and a mile of South Central Academy, gobble up more than half of the funds allotted.

Other District 4 roads set for improvements are Spring Port, which is receiving patching; gravel road Camp Ground, which will be paved with DBST; and North Central Academy Road, which will be resealed.

The cost of road improvements in District 4 totals $160,455.

In District 5, road improvements there are spread among nine roads. But the total cost, $154,041, is also the least costly of the summer roadwork.

District 5 roads Barnacre, Wilson and Hadorn will be resealed.

Old Panola, Nash, Myers, Cut-off, and Jaudon roads will be resealed and leveled.
Waldrup Road will be patched.