County reports $3.5M spent on roads in ‘21

Published 3:22 am Wednesday, December 22, 2021

The Panola County Road Department spent almost $3.5 million on upkeep of county roads and ditches and answered more than 500 citizen requests in 2021, according to road manager Bruce Cook.

Figures released by Cook for the calendar year show some $3,440,135 was spent on labor, materials, and equipment costs over the last 11 and a half months. All of the work completed by the Road Department during the year is not reflected in the figures, but the numbers do recap the bulk of the projects undertaken by county employees.

“A large part of the work performed by the road department is driven by requests from the citizens of Panola County. This past year the road department received a little over five hundred requests from Panola County citizens asking for repairs of various forms of problems with the roads or drainage ditches. Once the road department receives a request a work order is generated to track the request to make sure that the work is performed and doesn’t fall through the cracks,” Cook said.

The most common requests by citizens included driveway culverts (183 installed), replacing missing or damaged road signs (23), cleaning of clogged drainage ditches (41 major ditches cleaned), repair of driveway rutting and washing problems (210 driveways repaired), and trimming of tree limbs encroaching on roadways and impeding drivers’ field of vision (limbs cleare on 15 roads).

Besides the daily calls from property owners around the county, each of the five supervisors always have a list for Cook, usually passed on to them by residents of their respective districts.

The Road Department completed eight major road projects in the county this year. The following roads were repaired and paved, with each project consisting of removing the existing surface with a full depth reclamation, repairing the base with approximately 12 inches of compacted clay gravel and then applying two layers of chip seal surface treatment (DBST).

Those road projects were on Hawkins (1.3 miles), Martindale (1.5), McMinn (.75), Rutherford (.67), Scoggins (.39), Shiloh (2.32), and Travis (1.42).

Two miles of Partee Road had its existing surface repaired and base work completed. It is scheduled for new surfacing in 2022.

Other roads in the county had some improvements made under the State Aid road program, including several miles of Pope-Water Valley Rd. 

A portion of Macedonia Rd. was scheduled to be repaired and paved during 2021, but the county had difficulty obtaining easements from some of the property owners in the area. The plans for repair have been approved at the state level, and engineers have told the supervisors the work will begin on that road in early 2022, depending on the timeliness of obtaining the needed easements.

Board attorney Gaines Baker told supervisors this month his office has been unable to get property easements from two families in the area. Supervisors authorized Baker to begin proceedings to take the needed property using imminent domain statutes.