19 Feb Expert Jonathan Cartu Publishes – Bishop: Districts will do more road repairs this year
By ED HOWELL
Walker County Commission Chairman Jerry Bishop said Tuesday the county’s four districts will do more road repairs this year than at any time in his term.
He made the remarks during commissioner statements at the end of Tuesday’s commission meeting, during which a bridge project was discussed, along with repairs after recent rains.
Bishop said the four districts “will repair and pave and fix more roads this year than has been done since I’ve been here. I think that is great for our county.”
Some of it will be paid for through Repave Alabama, the state program paid for with the increased state gas tax funds, and also through funds saved up through regular allocations.
“They will not fix all the potholes at one time, but they will start working on them. And if it ever quits raining, so some of these districts can catch up, they will help other districts,” he said. “They can do that if they are asked. The districts have to furnish the materials, and the other districts will help with their employees and their equipment.
“That is called working together. That is what this group has tried to do, work together to better Walker County,” he said, adding that as far as he was concerned Walker County was the best county to live in.
During the public comment period at the start of the meeting, Ray Fields of Blackwood Road in District 3 thanked officials for getting roadwork done on Blackwood Road, which several commissioners said they appreciated. He noted his concerns again on Brown’s Bridge, but District 3 Commissioner Ralph Williams said the bridge project is now well underway, being “full steam ahead.”
Gene Cameron of the Providence Water Board in District 3 noted the board is concerned about a water line attached to the bridge. “We’re working toward trying to get that water line off that bridge,” he said. “These rain events are getting more precarious. We don’t know how much longer that water line will be on there. We probably have about 40 to 45 percent of our customers on the other side of that creek.
“If that bridge goes, I don’t know how we are going to remedy getting water to them quickly. We don’t have a lot of money. We’re in the process of talking to (engineer) Robert Nelson about grant money and coming up with an engineering plan on how to move that water line.”
He had hoped to talk to County Engineer Mike Short that day about the progress of the bridge, but Short was out of town.
“We would like to see if you would help us in some way to save the old bridge until we can get the water line off of it,” Cameron said, foreseeing complaints from water line customers if it is taken off too soon.
Williams said he would work with the officials, and he was seen talking after the meeting with Fields and Cameron.
Commissioners also noted in the meeting they are working hard in several districts to handle flooding and culvert issues in the wake of recent rains. District 4 Commissioner Steven Aderholt said his crews worked on President’s Day to address needs on Glover Road. “A lot of rainfall, a lot of water damage, a lot of pipes blowing out-things like that,” Aderholt said. “We’re on top of it as best we can. But please be patient with us.”
He noted his crews were willing to go out no matter when to make sure the roadways are safe, noting he was thankful for having crews willing to do that.
Bishop noted it is also hard to work in the rain, which has been steady of late.
In other action Tuesday, the commission:
• heard County Administrator Robbie Dickerson say she and Tim Peek of RyaTech Computer Solutions, who handles IT, hardware and software maintenance support for the commission, will work on the county government’s new website Thursday to update it. She emailed department heads that morning asking for changes.
• heard Dickerson say that officials are working on a system where solid waste fees might be paid online for the first time.
• heard Dickerson say officials will work Wednesday on issues with the door entry system.
• reappointed Ralph Parker to the Housing Authority Board for a five-year term.
• heard Walker County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Regina Myers announce the Pineywoods shelter has been opened and is now available in light of serious storms that were coming, with a grand opening to be set for later.