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Commission deals with transportation business

By By JOHN DILMORE JR. Publisher
After a layoff over the holidays, the Escambia County Commission met for the first time since early December Monday, tending primarily to "housekeeping" measures, but also answering questions from a concerned citizen about the state of area roads.
Pearl Stallworth asked the commission when it would be able to invest in improvements to roads in the Pea Ridge area.
Commission chairman Larry White said in response, "Every commissioner here has been scratching their heads trying to come up with an answer to the problem of deteriorating infrastructure."
White added that the commission is constantly searching for ways to supplement the monies it has available for infrastructure improvement. But, he said, it didn't feel like the right time to take the issue to voters, given that the county had just been asked to pay more in taxes to keep city and county schools operating at acceptable levels.
Earlier in the meeting, the commission had attended to some infrastructure-related matters. County engineer John Downing told the commission that by the end of the week, or perhaps early next week, County Road 1, also known as Jack Springs Road – would be closed for a month to a month-and-a-half.
The closure is necessary because of work being done to the Brushy Creek Bridge. During the closure, which will primarily impact the Atmore area, traffic will re-routed onto Sunset Drive, Downing said.
Also, the county will enter into an agreement with the Department of Transportation to replace the Murder Creek bridge, on Murder Creek Road in the Kirkland community. This bridge replacement is being funded by Garvee Bond monies from the state.
Garvee Bond funds are set aside for bridge repair and replacement.
The Muder Creek bridge is the oldest wood structure still remaining in the county, Downing said.
In other business, the county awarded the contract for traffic striping to Ozark Striping. The cost of stripoing work will vary throughout the county, as it is based upon the quality of materials used to make the stripes.
A typical cost for striping is about $320 per mile.
The commission also signed a contract which will allow the county to continue receiving federal funding for the ECATS (Escambia County Area Transit System) program.
The contract consists of a set of assurances that the county will not engage in any discriminatory practices in regard to public transportation.