Madison Co. Commissioner Says Road Repairs Are Behind Schedule: Harsh Winter Won’t Help

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – The need to maintain and repair roads doesn’t go cold when the weather does. In fact, harsh, wet winters can mean bad roads may become even worse.

It only takes a small amount of moisture to seep into existing cracks and crevices in asphalt for the paved surface to begin buckling and cleaving more heavily; even to the point of becoming dangerous.

Patterson Lane in Meridianville – while still in relatively good shape – just one example of a county roadway that could certainly use a little T.L.C.

Madison County District 1 Commissioner Roger Jones though says deteriorating roadways do not only lie in his district but that roads are behind schedule on maintenance and repair county-wide.

Winter’s cold and rain is certainly not the friend of already shaky ground, says the commissioner’s county road foreman.

“We need to do something,” says Jones. “We are loosing ground on maintaining our roads in Madison County.”

Commissioner Jones says when he was elected back in 2000, budgets allowed for the repaving of up to 30 miles of road per year in each of Madison County’s 6 districts.

“Now then, with level funding from gas tax money we can repave less than 20 miles a year,” explains Jones.

Jones says the county will rebid their paving contract in March 2014 and they expect it to increase – an additional cost possibly limiting repairs to 15 miles of road per year in each district.

“At 15 miles per year in district 1 it would take 35 years to repave all the roads that need it,” says Jones who added, “That’s just not good enough.”

Highly traveled and even rural roads only last about 10 years without proper repair. Jones says with already being behind schedule on infrastructure maintenance commissioners must come up with a creative solution.

“We are going to have to identify a revenue stream to help maintain the roads. There’s no way around it.”

Jones says the longer roads lie unattended – especially with the onset of winter – the more expensive they become to address.

“We simply cannot afford – literally – to get in any deeper over our heads with this,” Jones warned.

In an otherwise droll meeting back on November 6, Jones did take a minute to call out the commission for failing to fund road maintenance properly.

After the crowd left, Jones didn’t mince words on where the money should come from, “In my opinion this commission has spent money on what I call fluff, something that you can’t see.  We’ve got a Cadillac time management system.  We paid for a special election, $320,000, but we have nothing to show for it.  In my opinion, we should have spent this money on roads.”

Commission Chair Dale Strong pushed both of those efforts.

After the meeting, he told WHNT News 19 the time system will save money, and said in order to combine the tax assessor and tax collector offices, we had to have a special election, “We complied with the law of the state of Alabama.  I wish that we had that amount of money back, but this is the way the law is set up.  And we operated within the confines of the law.”

Of course, the people of Madison County voted against the idea back on September 10.

Roger Jones still doesn’t have his road money.

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