County Engineer Les Dungan
Tuesday’s meeting of the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors covered a plethora of topics. Today, we will focus actions and discussion from the first segment that covered the regular agenda.
County engineer Les Dungan gave the board an update on current bridge projects and also stressed the importance of this week’s legislative session in Jackson. Dungan stated that the state House of Representatives have moved some bills forward which will be beneficial to local projects for roads and bridges.
Dungan noted there are four avenues where funding is received by the county to help with roads and bridges.
“One is the Local System Bridge Program (LSBP) which wasn’t funded last year, but legislation has been introduced to fund it for this year and to pay the funds that were not paid last year. Second is the Mississippi Office of State Aid Road Construction which Dungan said will need an increase in funding to maintain what has been built and to continue working on our bridges. Third is the county and road bridge direct that comes from the fuel tax needs an increase desperately to maintain the 800 miles of county roads that we don’t get any other help from. And then federal funds which comes to state aid and to the counties in order to keep working on the road and bridges.”
Dungan said the outside MDOT independent inspectors will be in the county this week to look at the bridges supported by timber pilings. He said that if any postings or closings come about as a result of the inspections, he will work with County Road Manager Charlie Schielder to do what is needed.
Dungan said House Bill 722 is the most promising bill as it would fund the LSBP for this year and last year, as well local funding. He said the bill passed 118 to 0 votes.
Dungan stated the county is working on right-of-way on three projects for bridges: Nellie Burks Road, Sones Chapel Road, and Harry Sones Road. He said he received word over the weekend the final piece of right of way paperwork from a homeowner for the bridge on Nellie Burks Road should arrive this week in the mail. Dungan said he still working with landowners on the other two sites..
District 2 Supervisor Malcolm Perry asked Dungan about the size of right-of-ways normally needed. Dungan said it varies depending on the elevation, but typically it is a 60 foot right-of-way. The starting offer for the property has been $4,000.00 per acre and then begin negotiating from there with the landowners. Once the amount goes to $10,000.00, then appraisals are required.
Dungan said that the project to replace two bridges on Progress Road will begin on Tuesday and will cause some road closures and detours. He said the bridges will be repaired one at a time. On Otis Jones Road, the bridge structure is completed and the contractor is finishing up and the road will soon be open for traffic.
Also during the meeting, District 1 Supervisor Donald Hart recommended Charles Jones to replace Ike Lewis on the Pearl River Utility Authority Board of Directors. Lewis notified the board that he wanted to step down from his position. Jones appointment was approved unanimously.
The Board approved moving forward with Landry and Lewis Architects to prepare detailed construction plans for one two story building with approximately 38,000 square feet.
Tomorrow, we will have another update from the Board of Supervisors meeting focusing on Ridge Road.