Road concerns ongoing, officials say progress being made

Published 4:58 pm Thursday, February 28, 2013

County Road 46 is one road that is set to be re-paved  in 2013.

County Road 46 is one road that is set to be re-paved in 2013.

The condition of roads and bridges throughout Chilton County is often a dominating topic at commission meetings.

Residents usually address commissioners and county engineer Tony Wearren about a certain road causing concern, questions of when a road will be paved or voice frustrations that a road or bridge is in disrepair.

During the Feb. 25 commission meeting, commissioners heard from four residents who spoke about concerns on County Road 46, a two-mile project that is underway to be repaved.

One resident asked why the county would start a project to get the road ready for repaving and leave the project to work on at a later date.

Another resident wanted to know when a bridge along the road would be repaired after having to spend time figuring a different route around the bridge that is currently closed.

Commission chairman Allen Caton told the residents the commission would hear the concerns but would not debate any issue or take any action (if needed) until the upcoming commission meeting when it would become an agenda item.

After hearing public comments about the roads and bridges, Caton took an unusual path and acknowledged Wearren’s progress with the road department.

Caton told commissioners he had taken time to compile statistics focusing on the amount of projects Wearren has completed during his time as county engineer.

Caton said since Wearren was appointed as engineer in October 2007, he has accomplished numerous road projects and has done a good job managing a small budget allotted to him.

“With all that Wearren has done I thought it would be important to bring it out for everyone to be aware of,” Caton said. “He has done an excellent job.”

Caton reminded commissioners of worries surfacing a few months ago of whether work was going to get accomplished with old equipment.

“Wearren came up with a plan to be able to get new equipment for our county at no additional cost,” Caton said. “He was able to accomplish this by decreasing his budget.”

In 2012, the road department replaced bridges on County Road 417, 252 and 437, the road on County Road 868 was resurfaced and County Road 503 was paved.

Several projects scheduled for 2013 include repaving County Road 46 and County Road 109, resurfacing County Road 29 and County Road 59 that are two projects covered by the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (ATRIP), an Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) administered federal aid highway program that funds up to 80 percent of the construction.

Four bridge projects have also been proposed under the Rural Assistance Match Program from ALDOT.

This program allows cities and counties to elect projects to receive state funds to meet matching requirements for federal ATRIP funds.

In addition, Caton said Wearren had clipped numerous shoulders of paved roads, striped paved roads, developed a “fog seal” treatment for chip-seal roads, repaired two shoulder slides on County Road 53 and County Road 16, re-evaluated all dirt roads in the county and assigned priority ratings to each road, developed a sign evaluation program for all county signs, developed a non-inventory bridge list and processed more than 2,500 work orders.

Caton also said Wearren assisted in installation of storm shelters by providing “in-kind” service and helped the airport obtain an operating license by removing 5,000 yards of material from a hill.

“There is a lot of work being done for our roads and I think people need to know about that,” Caton said.