roads

The Tallapoosa County Commission approved repaving and striping 1 mile of Washington Street near U.S. Highway 280. The project, to be paid for by Rebuild Alabama funds, will cost $175,000. About 1,200 vehicles a day travel that stretch, according to the county.

Tallapoosa County will use its first year of Rebuild Alabama funds on resurfacing or patching 29 miles of roads at a cost of $750,000.

The Tallapoosa County Commission approved county engineer David Moore’s recommendations Monday.

“The roads are chosen based on the surface condition and the daily average traffic,” Moore said. “We’re going to stretch the dollars as far as we can and do it in phases. It will be completed over a couple of years.”

The six projects are:

• Resurface and stripe 1 mile of Washington Street from U.S. Highway 280 to the Alexander City limits ($175,000).

• Strip patch and spot level 6.92 miles of Pearson Chapel Road from the Alexander City limits to County Road 86 ($225,000).

• Strip patch and spot level 4.23 miles of Goodwater Road from the county line to Alabama Highway 63 ($50,000).

• Strip patch and spot level 8.11 miles of Sanford Road between Hackneyville and New Site from Alabama Highway 63 to County Road 41 ($25,000).

• Strip patch and spot level 5.13 miles of Germany’s Ferry Road between Daviston and the Tallapoosa River ($100,000).

• Resurface and stripe 3.85 miles of Concord Road from Alabama Highway 49 to County Road 75 ($175,000).

Washington Street is the most heavily traveled with an average of 1,020 vehicles per day, Moore said. The others range from 580 to 800 vehicles per day.

“All these are a top priority,” Moore said. “They’ll be staggered out.”

Moore said the work could possibly begin in November because of a more streamlined procedure to get funds from the state. Tallapoosa County has been receiving $500,000 annually from the federal government for roads and bridges but had to pay the Alabama Department of Transportation 16% of that total to have the state let bids. Now the county can exchange the $500,000 for $400,000 from the state and let bids itself, speeding the process.

Moore said the county expects to get the exchange money by Oct. 1.

Tallapoosa County will receive $531,000 in Rebuild Alabama funds for 2020, $708,000 in 2021 and $886,000 in 2022, along with the $400,000 in exchange funds from the state each year, Moore said. But the Rebuild Alabama funds will be deposited monthly, so the county won’t have access to the full $531,000 during the repaving cycle, Moore said. Only $350,000 will be available plus the $400,000 in exchange money, providing $750,000 for the six projects.

“We are doing these projects based on being confident in the funding being available,” Moore said.

The county projects a $48,740.79 leftover to be carried into 2021, according to Moore.

While no bridge repair or replacement will occur in the first year of Rebuild Alabama funding, Moore expects it in 2021 or 2022 as the gas tax increase that is paying for the improvements is fully implemented. The gas tax will go up 6 cents per gallon Sept. 1 and reach 10 cents in 2021.

“We are applying for grants and other funding through ALDOT for bridge replacement,” Moore said. “The top priority bridge is Washington Street. We need $2 million to replace it.”

While only 4.85 miles of roads are being repaved and the rest patched, Moore feels the public is grateful for what will be done.

“I have found we’ve done the strip patching in the past and the public has appreciated we’re out there working on the roads,” he said. “The public knows the roads are in poor condition and I’d think they’d be excited to see us out there working.”

Tallapoosa County is responsible for 1,058 miles of roads and 123 bridges, according to the Association of County Commissioners of Alabama, which said the county needs $9.076 million yearly to put road resurfacing on a 15-year cycle and bridge replacement on a 50-year cycle.

The ACCA study calculated it costs $165,000 to resurface 1 mile of county road and $605,000 to replace one county bridge.

Of Tallapoosa County’s 82 bridges, 63 are at least 50 years old; 735 of its 957 miles of roads are paved, the ACCA study showed.

According to www.rebuildalabama.com, the state has more than 213,000 miles of public roads and 73% of those are in rural areas. The recommended resurfacing period is 15 years for a county road but county governments have been operating on a 56-year resurfacing schedule.