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State says town must maintain bypass

The state highway department says Maplesville is responsible for maintaining the Alabama 22 truck route, which bypasses the town’s business district. But Mayor Kurt Wallace called it “a raw deal.”

Technically, as addressed in a letter from the Alabama Department of Transportation to Rep. Cam Ward, Maplesville does own the strip of roadway and is legally responsible for its upkeep.

“State Route 22 through Maplesville is classified as a municipal connecting link,” ALDOT Division Engineer Dee Rowe wrote, citing the Highway Laws of Alabama, 1975, Title 23, Chapter 1, Article 4, 23-1-113 (11): “The state shall have no responsibility for the maintenance of ‘truck routes’ where such routes are separate from regularly established highway routes.”

Wallace said that as long as he could remember, the state had maintained the truck bypass. He indicated that, likely due to the economy, ALDOT simply pointed out that it’s the town’s responsibility.

“I still think it’s a raw deal,” Wallace said in December’s town council meeting.

“It may have already been there (in state law), but it’s never been enforced,” he added in a phone interview.

Now, after years of wear and tear from heavy truck traffic, the bypass is in need of complete resurfacing and striping. But this cannot take place until the town’s new sidewalk and lighting project is in place. That project, slated for summer 2010, will require the construction of three culverts underneath the truck bypass for proper water runoff.

“I don’t believe it’s been resurfaced in the last 10 years,” Wallace said.

The culverts will be funded by the sidewalk and street lighting grant, which provides 80-percent funding in the amount of $145,449. The town will have to provide a 20-percent match to meet the total cost of $181,811. Then they will have to look at resurfacing.

Wallace said 2009 has been a difficult year for paving roads in general.

“This has been a frustrating year, as far as I’m concerned, for repairing roads. We’ve had so much rain,” he said.