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April 1, 2014

Commissioners discuss five-year bridge construction plan

DUNCAN — Stephens County commissioners met with an engineering firm representative on Monday to discuss county bridge projects coming in the next few years.

Aaron Finley,  of CEC (formerly Cobb Engineering Co.), talked about the commissioners’ five-year plans for creeks in their districts. Finley presented a rough estimate on when bridge construction projects would take place in each county district, noting the commissioners would most likely rotate bridge construction among the three districts.

Finley proposed moving a Cow Creek project in District 3 to a 2015 construction date, ahead of a District 2 bridge project at Wildhorse Creek because the District 3 project is ready. The Cow Creek project was originally slated for construction in 2016.

“It makes sense to move that up since it’s ready to go,” Finley said.

Dee Bowen, District 3 commissioner and board chairman, and Lonnie Estes, District 2 commissioner, agreed the Cow Creek project should be moved ahead of the Wildhorse Creek project. Bowen said having the Cow Creek bridge ready to build will save on the length of the construction process.

Finley said the rotation of projects will depend mostly on timing, mentioning how some projects will take longer and could make for a tighter time frame. Bridge projects exist throughout the county, including several at Cow Creek in both District 3 and District 2.

Commissioners plan their projects years in advance to maintain a rotation among the three districts.

Finley said he needs the completed five-year plan by May. The commissioners plan to approve the plan within the next three weeks.

No action was taken on the bridge plan.

In other action:

n One bid was received and approved by the commissioners to purchase medium-size flake wood shavings. The shavings are used for animal bedding at the Stephens County Fair & Expo Center.

The lone bid of $6,140 was received from TOC for 1,300 bags. Each bag will cost about $4.72, which is an increase from the bid approved for the 2013-14 fiscal year. That bid was $4.25 from Suncoast, which did not bid this year.

Mike Anderson, Fair & Expo Center director, said the TOC wood shavings are good quality and are easy to spread because they are packaged loosely.

n The commissioners took no action on adopting a burn ban resolution. The county has not had a burn ban since Feb. 3.

As of Monday, six counties were under a burn ban, including neighboring Cotton County. This is an increase from two counties on March 24. Five of the counties adopted burn bans Monday with all but one setting a 30-day burn ban. Craig County approved a seven-day ban.

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