Safer roads and bridges are on the way for certain areas of Jackson County. Monday morning supervisors held a public hearing to discuss the board's decision to adopt a $10 million bond issue to help pay for improvements to roads and the replacement of bridges throughout the county.
In all, 37 bridges will be replaced and 19 roads will be improved. District Five Supervisor John McKay says this is the only way the county could get the job done in a timely fashion.
"If we continue with the money in our road and bridge money, we will never ever be able to catch up,"said McKay. "We have got to the point that we have to do this to get the big projects out of the way so that our normal budget and tax money will take care of the everyday maintenance of the roads."
McKay says the bulk of the roads scheduled for repairs are the more heavily traveled roads in the rural parts of the county.
"The majority of it is strictly resurfacing the roads and bringing them back up to the standards we need them," says McKay.
Each year roads and bridges are tested by the county to make sure they're sufficient for travel. This year 37 bridges were shown to be approaching the point of being unsafe. That's one of the reasons supervisors say they have to act now.
"If we don't do this now, we're going to be in a critical situation with bridges closed all over this county," said McKay.
One of the roads scheduled for resurfacing is Coda Road in the Helena Community. Keith Dennis travels the road several times a day and says the repairs have been needed for sometime.
"There's a lot of hills and stuff when you're going down the road. You're truck kinda wobbles," says Dennis. "There's been a lot of people hit the ditch. There's a lot of changes needed to be done on this road. They ain't done no work on it in a while."
Perhaps the best news regarding the bond issue is that it won't cost taxpayers a dime.
"We're going to be able to do it without a tax increase at all," said McKay. "What we've done over the last three years is plan for this so we could pay down some millage on some other items and use that same millage to go before this $10 million bond issue."
McKay says by using the bond money, the improvements will get done quicker than normal.