Commission discusses road plan

Published 1:58 pm Wednesday, August 21, 2019

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Roads are an endless talking point in Chilton County, and the Commission has recently held work sessions with the sole purpose of having a road plan moving forward.

Commissioners Allen Caton and Jimmie Hardee have each presented their variations of how they think the plan should be approached.

“We’re planning for the future,” Commission Chairman Joseph Parnell said.

County Engineer Tony Wearren has expressed that there are two trains of thought in the industry.

The first train of thought focuses on improving one heavily-trafficked roadway, while the other focuses on doing multiple smaller roads with much less traffic flow.

Caton’s plan stretches over 10 years and is centered around a pay-as-you-go payment plan.

Hardee approaches financing the road projects from a different angle.

“Instead of having to go out and sell a bond or go out and borrow, we want a line of credit so that way we just have to pay the interest on what we’ve bought,” Hardee said. “This money can be paid back through our sales tax for infrastructure.”

One of the talking points was not only paving roads but also widening them.

“It’s a countywide project,” Hardee said. “A lot of these roads need to be widened because our shoulders are crumbling away. Some of these roads are going from 22 to 24 feet [wide] and some are going from 20 to 22 feet.”

According to Hardee, County Roads 54, 868, 73 and 59 are just some of the roads that have had portions that were either paved or striped in recent years.

“I am totally excited about this because we are actually gaining some ground,” Hardee said. “This is not an election year thing. It is a due diligence to the people of this county.”

According to Parnell, the hospital tax is set to bring in just more than $4 million this year, which would be the most to this point.

October 22 will be the first day the Commission will be able to get some “hard numbers” and have a better understanding of how much the new sales tax may bring in.

The sales tax is expected to bring in an estimated $3 million.

“It’s not like all $3 million are going to go to roads, but the roads will be a priority,” Parnell said.