Citizen asks about paving schedule
by James Phillips
May 20, 2012 | 1097 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jasper city officials were approached last week by a resident concerned about the condition of Old Birmingham Highway.

Tammy Price questioned members of the Jasper City Council about their future plans for paving the road, which she said has several large potholes, including some that are more than one inch deep.

“Each time it rains, whatever has been put down as a bandaid keeps coming back up,” she said. “In the past, we’ve been told something would happen this year or that year. I realize money is a huge issue of getting it done, but we need something done. What is being done is not working.”

Price said the condition of the road has led to a broken windshield and damaged tires.

Joe Matthews, Jasper’s public works director, said council members currently have four roads scheduled for paving in the upcoming years. He said Walston Bridge Road, 9th Avenue, Old Birmingham Highway and 3rd Avenue, in that order, will be resurfaced using grant funds.

“The council said to take the roads with the highest traffic count first, which were 9th Avenue and Walston Bridge,” Matthews said.

Matthews said resurfacing on those two roads could begin as early as September. He said Old Birmingham Highway would be in Phase 2 of the paving projects, which would take place in 2013, while 3rd Avenue would be the final part of the project, as determined by the traffic count study.

Matthews said Old Birmingham Highway was paved using tar and gravel about four years ago, but that work isn’t holding up now.

“The road was falling apart and that was the most cost effective way to try to bandaid it,” he said. “It held together fairly well until this winter. There are big areas about an inch deep now. We could certainly go out and patch those spots. It’s an expensive road to pave, but it needs to be resurfaced.”

The estimated cost to resurface the road is $600,000.

Mayor Sonny Posey said he originally submitted the paving projects with Old Birmingham Highway at the top of the list due to its poor condition.

“Ya’ll discussed it and decided to go with the traffic count,” he told council members.

Matthews said the council could possibly change the paving schedule, using condition as the determining factor.

“There may be an opportunity to take a road out and put Old Birmingham Highway in Phase 1,” he said.

Council members did not take action on the issue at its meeting Tuesday.

Gary Cowen, council member for District 3, suggested patching the road as soon as possible and looking at possible funding for repaving it later in the year.

“We can patch to alleviate the acute problem now,” he said.