County Engineer Les Dungan discusses Ridge Road with Board of Supervisors
At Tuesday’s meeting of the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors, County Engineer Les Dungan addressed the board about Ridge Road. Dungan said he had been contacted by the state and he wanted to give the board a synopsis of the project to this point and discuss next steps with the project.
Dungan explained that the project was started over 10 years ago when the Board of Supervisors, at that time, perceived the need for improved access to the Picayune airport from the Stennis Space Center area from the south and also from the north, where access was less than desirable. He said the board sought grants to begin a study to improve access to the airport and subsequently received funding from both federal and state sources to begin to look into the project.
Dungan stated, “In February, 2007, the board approved a program which was the first official action to start an environmental assessment. That assessment included the evaluation of route alternatives where a number of different routes were studied and evaluated. Subsequent to that study, the board approved a preferred route which is the route that a detailed design was begun and completed on. The grant that was received completed both the environmental assessment and the detailed design and that’s where we stand today, seeking additional funding to advance the project. The next step is the acquisition of right of ways and the adjustment of utilities.”
Dungan said he has a 311 page document that has all the details of the environmental assessment, lays out all of the routes that were evaluated, the environmental impact of those routes, and the cost of each of those routes.
He stated that the state was recently inquiring about the old alignment of Ridge Road and whether it was or was not a public road. Dungan said that in his opinion, this project is not dependent on whether that route, referring to Ridge Road, is public or not, because the routes in the assessment are on cross country routes that are not on any alignment with the existing Ridge Road route.
Board Vice President Hudson Holliday asked Dungan, “Could you be prepared at the next board meeting to give a detailed briefing along with maps to show how this was all developed and how the route that was eventually was chosen was less expensive than staying with the old Ridge Road route?” Dungan said he would be happy to do that for the next meeting.
Holliday then stated, “I want to make a motion. Our attorney’s probably going to faint when I say this. I want Frank Egger, Jeff Smith, and Richard Crawford subpoenaed up here. I’m tired of the misinformation and bald face lies and the running this board down, and good fair, honest, law-abiding, Christian people being accused of lying, stealing, and corruption. I want them up here to explain to them why this (the proposed route) should have went somewhere else.”
Holliday added, “It’s time to put this to rest”.
Board attorney Joe Montgomery said he needs a board order to carry out the subpoena and board approved that in a motion.
Board President Sandy Kane Smith stated that the board should be prepared to explain why Pearl River County does not view Ridge Road as a public road. County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin and Dungan said the county has the documentation available to address that question if needed.
Also, during the board meeting, Sandy Kane Smith and Hudson Holliday were re-elected by the board to serve as President and Vice-President by a motion of the board.
The next board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 17th at 9:00am.