Road improvements will cost over $500,000

Published 10:43 am Monday, May 14, 2012

WINTON – Hertford County can expect just over one-half million dollars worth of secondary road improvements during the 2012-13 fiscal year.

That was the word from Winn Bridgers, Assistant Division Maintenance Engineer for DOT’s Ahoskie office, who presented the Hertford County Board of Commissioners with a detailed plan during their meeting on Monday morning.

Bridgers told the commissioners that the anticipated allocation for Hertford County through DOT’s 2012-13 Secondary Roads Construction Program budget is projected at $505,193. Of that amount, $287,989 is coming from the Highway Fund and another $217,204 from the Trust Fund.

“We wait (until the new fiscal year budget is finalized) to see what the actual allocations will be,” Bridgers said.”

He said there is no money in the pending budget to pave any unpaved roads in the county. That was due to the fact that DOT has not been granted any right-of-way in order to pave those roads. Currently there are 17 unpaved roads, or portions thereof, encompassing a total of 20.10 miles on a “hold list” awaiting permission from adjacent landowners to release the right-of-way in order for those roads to be paved.

“If you become aware of any change in the ownership of that adjacent property where we need right-of-way to proceed with paving those roads, please let my office be aware of that,” Bridgers said. “We’ll be glad at that time to reopen investigation into obtaining the right-of-way. Until such occurs we cannot expend resources to obtain the right-of-way on those unpaved roads on the Hold List.”

DOT’s plans for secondary roads in the county includes spending $65,000 for spot improvements on paved roads; $10,000 for use in conducting surveys, plans, right-of-way and utilities; $50,000 for various pipe replacements; and $60,000 for pavement preservation.

Bridgers said specific projects will impact two county roads.

The program plans to invest $150,000 in continuing a project on Statesville Road (SR 1310) near Como, to include widening 2.78 miles from 18.5’ to 20.5’ as well as pipe replacement and shoulder reconstruction.

“That will actually complete the work on Statesville Road that has been ongoing for the past two years,” Bridgers noted.

Mt. Moriah Road (SR 1174) near Winton – specifically 2.09 miles from just south of US 158 to SR 1108 (Country Club Road) – will be widened from 18’ to 20’ at a projected cost of $85,000.

Bridgers said that should additional funds become available or if one of the aforementioned projects is delayed or comes in well under budget, there are two alternatives for paved roads improvements in the county. Both are on the Fennell Road (SR 1155) off NC 561 near Tri-County Airport. There, DOT projects to spend a combined $265,000 for curve widening, strengthening and shoulder reconstruction on 2.35 miles of that road.

Continuing with the $505,193 projected budget for the county’s secondary roads program, Bridgers said that $65,000 has been set aside for spot improvements to unpaved roads and $20,193 earmarked for contingencies, departmental overhead, overdrafts and paving entrances to certified fire departments, rescue squads, etc.

After listening to the presentation, Commissioner Howard Hunter III said the money projected for Hertford County for secondary road improvements was why the county needs to keep pressure on its state legislators to continue to fight against the possibility of North Carolina officials requiring counties to foot the bill when it came to such work.

“This would become our bill to pay if the state ever mandates that counties will have to pay for secondary road projects,” Hunter said, referencing earlier, yet unsuccessful, attempts by some in Raleigh to pass these costs to the county level. “I don’t want to push that on our citizens.”

“They’re not talking about that right now, but that issue does seem to rear its head every year or two,” Bridgers said.

Hunter made a motion to accept the presentation made by Bridgers. On a second from Commissioner Bill Mitchell, the measure passed by a 5-0 vote.

Bridgers said once the county’s resolution to adopt the program is signed and sent to the local DOT office, it will be forwarded to the North Carolina Board of Transportation. Once they adopt the plan, the projected road improvements in Hertford County can begin.

He also informed the commissioners that due to reorganization within DOT, the Resident Engineer’s Office and District Engineer’s Office, both in Ahoskie, have merged. He said it would not impact who the county needs to contact regarding road improvements.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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