Friday, February 19, 2016

State Aid Road Funding Shortfall Means Hard Choices for Winston Co. Supervisors

Winston County Supervisors have some hard decisions to make
concerning the use of state aid funds for county road repair. In Tuesday’s board meeting (February 16), County Engineer Jimmy Kemp informed the supervisors that the County had been approved for $1.6 million in funds for repair of state aid roads.

Mississippi's State Aid Road Program is in place to assist Mississippi counties in the construction and maintenance of secondary, non-state owned roads and bridges. Not all county roads qualify for this assistance. Kemp noted that this funding would be sufficient for the repair and striping of approximately 30 miles of road but that a December 2015 report from the Mississippi Department of Transportation indicated that there are more than 62 miles of state aid roads in the county that are in need of surface repair. Kemp said, “We need to try to come up with a solution where each district gets a fair share of the funds. We need to repair 62.8 miles of road as identified but this would cost about $3.1 million.”

District 5 Supervisor Larry Duran expressed concern as his district has the largest percentage of roads that qualify and need repair. “The public needs to understand that we are not all going to get complete repair – we are not going to get it all done with the funds that are available to us.”

Another concern that may dictate which roads receive repair is the status of mailboxes along state aid roads. No state aid funds - state or federal, can be used on roads until all mailbox supports conform to standards. Brick and/or non movable mailbox supports must be removed and replaced with “breakaway” supports such as a 4x4 wooden post. This has been an ongoing issue not only in Winston County but across the state. Supervisors have made efforts to encourage the replacement of non-conforming mailbox supports but not all have been replaced. The result is that those road sections that have non-conforming mailboxes will not be eligible for repair funds.

Supervisors plan to meet on February 22 for a work session to determine the distribution and those roads in most need of repair. The MDOT report indicates the following needs in each District:

District One roads include sections of: Sturgis Rd, Poplar Flat Rd, and old Hwy 15

District Two roads include sections of: Crystal Ridge Rd, Ellison Ridge Rd, East Winston Rd, Middleton Rd, Bateman Rd.

District Three roads include sections of: Bond Rd, McLeod Rd.

District Four roads include sections of: HighPoint Rd, Blaine Rd, Turnipseed Rd, Fentress-Panhandle Rd,

District Five roads include sections of: Youngs Crossing Rd, Plattsburg-Mt Calvery Rd, Mt Calvery-Hinze –Rural Hill Rd, Nowell Taylor-Lobutcha Rd, Mt Pisgah Rd, Oak Grove Rd, Tarbrough –Carter Rd, Russell Rd, Union Ridge Rd, Elijah Graham Rd.