Group of funds used to pay for paving of roads

Despite the current economic crunch and a recent reshuffling of transportation priorities, Columbia County officials intend to pave many of the dirt thoroughfares in rural communities.

Using a combination of county funds and a Community Development Block Grant -- federal funds dispersed by the state Department of Transportation -- $750,000 has been allocated to pave six dirt roads.

Those roads are Jamison, Harp, White, Sandy Run, Nathan Jones and Rance Perry, according to county documents.

ON THE DOCKET

Though county officials are still negotiating rights-of-way purchases on some of these roads, Commissioner Scott Dean, whose District 4 includes much of rural Columbia County, said the following list of dirt roads also should be paved this year: Morris Calloway, Cemetery, Crawford Place, Bill Dorn and Hinton-Wilson. The paving of those roads will be paid using a combination of sales tax monies and dollars from a General Obligation Bond.

Other roads scheduled to be paved using 2006-10 1-cent sales tax dollars include Knob Hill Farm Road, Jacqueline and Kelli Drive, McZilkey Drive, Smith Crawford Road, Suan Drive and Adelia Drive, according to county documents.

ON HOLD

Worried about the faltering economy, county officials temporarily sacrificed some paving projects to help develop a $3.75 million road contingency fund.

Residents of Sand Pit, Linder McCurdy and Dent roads might have to continue suffering the dust and mud.

However, Mr. Dean said bids for many county road projects have come in lower than budgeted. Should that trend continue, money saved from those projects would go to paving roads on hold.

UP FOR REPAVING

For all those who complain about driving on dirt, there are about as many who complain about potholes on paved roads.

County officials have thus far not prepared a list of repaving projects, Construction and Maintenance Services Division Director Scott Herring wrote in an e-mail.

Mr. Herring wrote that he is waiting on the Local Assistance Road Program list from the Georgia DOT, which he expects to receive next month or in March, before compiling his own list of resurfacing projects to take to commissioners.

Each year, DOT develops the list for resurfacing projects that will receive state funding.