It has been a slow process in District 1 for work to get started on Aldridge Gap Road between Bluffview Drive and Hester Road. But at long last, the County Commission is about to take bids on the project.

On Christmas day in 2015, Aldridge Gap was washed out. This is one of two roads damaged in that storm that are still in need of repair.

According to Marshall County Engineer Bob Pirando, FEMA policy states that the road must be returned to the same condition it was in prior to the issues. It does not require the restoring of the roads. Pirando did not recommend this because he viewed it as a temporary fix. He suggested that the roads needed a more permanent fix.

One of the recommendations Pirando made was to relocate the road. He made this recommendation under previous District 1 commissioner Bill Stricklend. The first road they will be working on is the Aldridge Gap Road, he said. They have contacted the property owners who will be impacted by the road closure.

This road had to go through an environmental review. They had to acquire two rights-of-ways from two property owners and they have prepared plans for the road relocation. The bid packet is ready and the plans are ready as well.

Pirando said they will advertise as required by law for this particular project. It has to be advertised for three weeks. They are looking at opening bids in February. He is hoping to have this ready by the first Commission meeting in February.

If it is awarded in February, he is hoping to start the project in March. Weather permitting, he believes the project will be completed by June or July.

Chairman James Hutcheson said that the Commission has received a lot of phone calls asking when this work will be completed. He would like to see it started and completed by July as well.

The funds for the project are provided through FEMA, the state and the Commission. Pirando said FEMA’s part is 75 percent, the state’s is 10 percent and the Commission pays 15 percent.

Commissioner Ronny Shumate said that he keeps getting all kinds of figures between $400,000 to $1 million on how much the road will cost to complete.

Pirando said his good faith estimate is around $480,000.

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Shumate is excited to get this project started because of the slow process. With all of the environment studies and all that was required, it has been an unhurried progression. He understands that these studies were needed, but he is ready to get this project going.

Attorney Clint Maze wanted to make it known that although the commission kept referring to it happening in 2015, that it was Christmas so although it has been a long process, it is not as long as it seems.

Hutcheson said when the federal government and lawyers are involved, it does take more time. He looked at Maze and said he was not pointing fingers.

Shumate made a motion to approve the solicitation of the bids for work on Aldridge Gap Road and Commissioner Joey Baker seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

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