Stuck in traffic

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Several streets and road issues were before the Demopolis City Council Monday night. Some requests involved needs for paving and another involved the need for turn lanes on U.S. Highway 80.

Concerned citizens have made it known they would like to see a turn lane at the intersection of U.S. Highway 80 and Walnut Street. Demopolis Mayor Cecil P. Williamson said she has heard numerous requests for a turn lane in this area.

“I get more phone calls about there being no turn lane there,” Williamson said. “That is way up there on the list of requests from the community. I get numerous calls about how the traffic backs up there.”

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The area was definitely high risk, Director of Public Safety Jeff Manuel said.

“It is a problem that has already been there,” Manuel said. “It is going to be there until it is addressed.”

The city has planned a widespread street paving project and had Bob Evans of Almon and Associates at their meeting to discuss some issues. Evans said the turn lane was a definite possibility.

“We have the property we need to do it with,” Evans said. “We have already drawn it up one time and got a permit for it, but the permit has probably expired by now.”

The initial plan had the city paving $696,000, however, the city discussed adding $165,000 to the project to solve more paving problems. Evans said they would also add $70,000 in engineering fees, which would bring the total to $931,000.

After meeting with the Finance Committee, Councilman Jack Cooley said the city is in a financial position to make this a reality.

“When the Finance Committee met we talked about whether we could stand without putting this in a disadvantageous financial position,” Cooley said. “We talked about it one time up to the $1million, but settled on $750,000. Our financial position, if anything, has improved since then and we can afford the $1 million if the body wants to put up that much money.”

Several streets in Demopolis were in dire need of repair. Councilman Woody Collins said he would like to see streets with a high volume of traffic get the repairs they desperately need.

“I’d love to do everything we can to fix the streets in this town, but there are certain major thoroughfares like Walnut, Pettus and Jackson that get such a high traffic use they really need help,” Collins said. “I know that Walnut has been on the list for a long time.”

The best idea, Evans said, was for the city to make a list of the streets that needed the most immediate attention and then work on other roads.

“What I would like for you to do is prioritize what you would like to do,” Evans said. “We are going to do some base bids and if we are under the money we could put some alternates in there.”

Evans said the total project would take up to four months before work would begin after bidding the project out and completing paperwork. Evans said the total list could be completed for a total cost of $1.3 million

The council voted to adopt the street-paving list as presented by Evans in its entirety and hoped to have the project completed by Nov. 1.

Evans said he would make plans to pursue bids.