Citizens want road paved

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 14, 2003

A group of residents living on Bell Crossing Road in Opp would like to see what they term as hazardous conditions on their road addressed in the near future.

A delegation of residents, led by spokeswoman Ingrid Henninger attended Monday's regular meeting of the Covington County Commission to address their concerns about the road, located in the district of Commissioner Royce Short.

Before beginning her remarks, Henninger distributed copies of a petition signed by residents on the road requesting paving to the members of the commission, and said she would like to see her road added to the list of roads in the county that have a great need for paving.

"I understand through the (state) department of transportation that Covington County has the most miles of unpaved road than any other county in the state," said Henninger.

She added that she was informed about the money that was spent on the Covington Arena and said she wondered why the county would spend significant funds on the arena when items such as road paving are more pressing.

"If you want economic development, pave a road," said Henninger.

Henninger said 80 percent of the road is actually one-laned, making the road that much more dangerous, with resident Patricia Armistead speaking about the danger of the road, especially near a lake area, noting that lake water has been red with runoff from the road.

"It may not happen in our lifetime, but one of these days the lake is going to dry up with all the runoff," said Armistead.

"On a rainy day (the road) is clay, and clay slides and many people have ended up in a ditch," said Henninger. "Your own school buses cannot drive this road when it is raining and county vehicles get stuck on this road."

Short said the county does not have sufficient funding to pave many roads and said roads basically have to be addressed when there is adequate funding in the budget to handle such projects.

"We want paved roads and we want to pave them all," said Short. "The county doesn't have any money to pave roads so we have to depend on the state of Alabama. We try to benefit for the amount of money we are going to get from the state."

Short also noted that although there are 138 dirt roads in Covington County there are also 601 paved roads in the county.

Engineer Darren Capps commented that there are currently 10 paving projects ongoing in the county and that most of those projects should be completed by this paving season.

It was decided that the commission will try and seek federal money to handle the project and Henninger volunteered to travel to Montgomery with Short to discuss the issue before state officials.

In other business discussed at Monday's meeting, the Covington County Commission:

Approved the reappointment of Cary Baker to the Andalusia-Opp Airport Authority.

Approved renewal of a maintenance agreement with CenturyTel.

Approved consideration of its capital asset policy for accounting and depreciation.

Approved the purchase of a used tractor from state surplus, for the price of approximately $16,000.

Approved the out of state travel request for the probate judge and one other employee for a municipal convention.

Approved a new county decal for various equipment and vehicles.

Approved an off-premise beer retail license for Gitty Up 'N Go No. 6 on U.S. Highway 55 North.

Approved purchasing new motor graders while selling others as surplus property. The commission will purchase the new graders at a price not higher than $995,000 and will sell the graders at a price no less than $614,000.

Approved requesting bids for concession services at the Covington Center Arena on a six-month basis.

Approved a low bid proposal from Spurlin Builders in Opp for a $49,040 forestry building to be built on state-owned property at LBW Junior College in Andalusia.

Approved the minutes from the March 24 meeting.