Commission halts work on Braswell Road again

Published 3:11 am Thursday, June 16, 2016

Despite pleas from a commissioner who lives there and residents who travel Braswell Road daily, the Covington County Commission voted 3-2 Wednesday to halt work to pave the road.

A previous county commission voted in September of 2012 to pave the road. But when the current commission with three then-new members took office later that year, the work was halted while commissioners assessed the county’s overall work.

In March of 2013, commissioners voted to restart the work after a group of about 20 residents attended meetings.

But the commission’s motion only allotted $300,000 for the project. To date, that much has been spent, and county engineer Lynn Ralls estimates the cost of finishing at $165,000. Ralls said he could finish the surface of the portion started, and extend it approximately 1,500 feet so that the pavement ends in a straight area of the road as opposed to a curve.

Approximately 10 people attended Wednesday’s meeting and several spoke in favor of the work continuing.

Elmore made a motion to complete the road, and Commissioner Kenneth Northey seconded it. Commissioners Joe Barton and Kyle Adams voted against the motion. The motion failed in the tie.

Barton then moved to halt the construction, once the engineer deems it completed to a point of safety. Adams seconded. Elmore and Northey voted against the motion, but Chairman Bill Godwin broke the tie and the motion passed.

Barton said he’s concerned with the road, but feels the additional money would be better spent in other parts of the county. He has repeatedly expressed particular concerns about the unpaved portion of Prestwood Bridge Road.

“It’s a bad road to go down,” he said. “I challenge any one of you to drive down that road today and say you need yours finished more.”

Godwin said every citizen of Covington County would like to live on a paved road.

“But portion that’s not finished is in better condition than 90 percent of our other dirt roads,” he said.

Elmore repeatedly told Godwin, Barton and Adams that their opposition was “a slap in the face” to the voters who use the road. He also argued that commissioners should finish what they start.

Barton told him, “I was opposed to starting it, not to finishing it. I’m not changing the way I’ve voted.”