County commission approves new transportation plan

Published 4:00 pm Friday, September 1, 2023

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The Covington County Commission approved the fiscal year 2024 Rebuild Alabama Transportation Plan for Covington County at a cost of $2,399,515 during a special called meeting Thursday, August 31.

County Engineer Lynn Ralls discussed eight projects on the county’s fiscal year 2024 transportation plan that cover approximately 9.982 miles. Seven projects involve road improvements, while one project consists of a bridge improvement.

Those projects are as follows:

  • County Road 21 – Ard Creek Road with 3.977 miles at a total cost of $666,450
  • County Road 107 with 0.962 miles at a total cost of $300,000
  • County Road 25 – Padgett Road with 1.804 miles at a total cost of $330,000
  • County Road 20 – Glen Chambers Road with 2.420 miles at a total cost of $412,600
  • County Road 47 – Indian Creek Road with 0.019 miles of bridge replacement at a total cost of $463,465
  • TT Clark Road with 0.800 miles at a total cost of $150,000
  • Caton Road with 0.005 miles of a bridge replacement structure at a total cost of $42,000
  • Signalization to replace 0.005 miles of pole-mounted caution light signals with post-mounted caution lights at the intersection of County Roads 77 and 43; County Roads 77 and 70; County Road 70 and Harmony Church Road at a total cost of $35,000

“By law, we have to get this approved this week and on the books. I met with all the commissioners and got a wish list of what they wanted. I added two little things at the end to finish out all of our money. There was about $70,000 left, and I put it toward replacing a 3-ton bridge along with some civilization projects,” Ralls said.

Ralls addressed the commission with each individual project listed on the fiscal year 2024 transportation plan.

“Our first project Ard Creek Road starts at County Road 7 and runs U.S. 84. That’s a bad road in District 4 that needs some widening and leveling. That will come out of our federal exchange funds. Our second project is County Road 107, which is also in District 4. Our third project is Padgett Road, which runs from Seven Church Road southward and is located in District 2. The fourth project is finishing up on Glen Chambers Road and is a two-tier deal. This was Mrs. Lynne’s (Holmes) ARPA funds to level and widen this road. The whole road needs leveling, but we widened it and fixed two really bad dips in the road. I took the remaining funds and put it on about 11 or 12 feet of Old Farm Road and 1,000 feet on County Road 89. The next project is a bridge replacement structure on County Road 47 Indian Creek Road. This bridge in District 3 is in dire need of replacing. Number six on the list is TT Clark Road in District 1, which we paved most of it between 2004 and 2006. Number seven is a bridge replacement on Caton Road in District 4. We try to replace a bridge every year, and people are always complaining about the decking of this one. The drain is exactly 700 acres, which is basically what one culvert rail tank will handle. We will replace that bridge and help with school bus traffic. The remaining funds are signalization. We had a lot of vandalism on our beacons and crossroads out in the county,” he said.

The CRAF amount for each project represents the county’s Rebuild Alabama funds with a total of $317,933.53. The FAEF amount represents the county’s federal aid exchange funds with a total of $317,092.69.

“We should break even on everything we have. There is a lot of work that we hope to have done in our next fiscal year. The paving will be contracted through our annual bids we already have in place, and the bridge will be built in-house,” Ralls said.

Ralls also discussed the county’s paving summary and ARPA paving summary for fiscal year 2023. There were four projects on the county’s paving summary covering 16.285 miles at $2,084,503.58 of Rebuild Alabama funding. Four projects covering 9.248 miles at $517,978.53 are on the ARPA paving summary. District 4 has about $250,000 in ARPA funding that has not been spent yet.

“Those projects are Straughn School Road on County Road 43, Hattaway Road on County Road 91, Glen Chambers Road on County Road 20, and Substation Road. The county’s ARPA paving summary includes Glen Chambers Road, Spanish Trail, Whatley Road, and the LBW Walking Path,” he said.

The commission also adopted a resolution for an ARPA project that consists of architectural services on three projects totaling $156,379. One of those projects includes the addition of a new entrance at the county’s administration building.

“We are looking at three different projects that had already been identified as ARPA projects for us. The architect has done some work on that and met with us. They have started sending invoices, so in order to get started on the paying of those fees, I would like to have resolutions on track documenting this information. This is a resolution basically authorizing the payment for the contracting of the architect firm. There will be several other resolutions for projects that will come forward as we move along in this process,” Administrator Karen Sowell said.

Chairman Greg White would like to move forward with renovations to the county administration building.

“It would be a relatively minor upgrade to the front entrance and in the lobby. We can discuss it here and readily move forward with that. We can give Karen the approval to get the ball rolling and start that work. The resolution is to approve payment from ARPA funds on the architect’s services. The pricing estimate on the three projects is way beyond what we all anticipated, but we still need to pay for services rendered. The total payment of $156,379 will be paid to the architect,” he said.

The next meeting of the Covington County Commission will be held Tuesday, Sept. 12, 9 a.m., at the Covington County Administration Building. The public is invited to attend.