County road safety sparks talks; Supervisors discuss Kingston Road changes

Published 12:12 am Tuesday, November 4, 2014

NATCHEZ — The Adams County Board of Supervisors spent much of its meeting Monday discussing the safety of the county roads.

Supervisor David Carter started the discussions with a question about what could be done to make the intersection of Kingston Road and U.S. 61 safer.

A tractor-trailer rig overturned near the intersection after colliding with a pickup truck, and in March 20-year-old Tyler Brumfield died in a two-vehicle collision there.

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“There have been three bad wrecks there in the last six months, and since I have been on the board there have been half a dozen wrecks there,” Carter said.

“I am wondering if we can do something coming off Kingston Road, maybe add some rumble strips or an acceleration lane going onto U.S. 61. If you pull out on U.S. 61 South and (drivers on the highway) are going 70 miles an hour leaving town, there is nowhere to accelerate.”

Supervisor Mike Lazarus asked if it might be possible to have a sign with a flashing light placed on the highway to make drivers more alert of merging traffic.

County Engineer Jim Marlow said a lighted sign would have to be done through the Mississippi Department of Transportation as the agency maintaining the highway, but the county could do rumble strips on Kingston Road with no problem.

The supervisors also gave Marlow the go-ahead to start re-striping the former Beltline highway, now named Col. John Pitchford Parkway.

The restriping of the road has been delayed by a defective overlay on the road earlier this year.

Supervisors President Darryl Grennell said the contractor on the project — which was a state aid project rather than a county project — used a defective surface emulsion to which the roadways’ crushed limestone surface did not adhere.

Even now the roadway needs new repairs where the surface has stripped off, Marlow said.

But Lazarus and Carter said they have heard numerous concerns about the highway.

Lazarus said with the oncoming winter months and longer, earlier periods of darkness descending on an already dark area, the road needs to be striped so drivers can be safe.

During the meeting, Road Manager Robbie Dollar told the board his department is looking at the purchase of a $7,000 sign-printing machine.

The county had to order 22 signs last week, and 10 the week before, Dollar said.

The signs, which include stop signs and street signs, are being stolen with increasing frequency, Dollar said.

Ordering new signs every time costs approximately $15-$20 per sign, he said.

Having missing street signs and especially stop signs can pose a real hazard to drivers, Carter said.

In other news:

• Lazarus asked if the board could get prices for a few pieces of playground equipment for some county-owned land behind the Lake Montrose Fire Department.

Lazarus said he would like to see a small park with swings, a slide and a picnic table established there.

“We don’t have much out that way,” he said. “I want something nice for the mamas to take the kids out to swing on. I don’t want it to turn into a hangout.”

• The board voted to allow Volunteer Fire Coordinator Darryl Smith to apply for an assistance for firefighters grant, which Smith said can be used to purchase equipment and even fire trucks.

The county has an agreement with the City of Natchez to purchase a fire truck as part of the two governments’ shared fire-protection agreement, and lost the opportunity for a similar grant earlier this year.

• The board voted to reappoint Lynwood Easterling to the Copiah-Lincoln Community College board of trustees.

• The board voted to appoint Adams County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Buddy Frank as the fire investigator for the county.

The appointment came with Sheriff Chuck Mayfield’s recommendation.

• The board officially made an order for the county sanitation and justice court offices to accept payments of court fees even if they have been turned over to collections.

Receivable Solutions Services collects late court fees for the county, adding a 25 percent fee on top to recoup its costs.

RSS’ offices are not accessible to all residents because of Americans with Disabilities Act compliance issues, Grennell said, and so the payments can be made in person to the county offices, which can then forward the money to RSS.

• The board approved an interlocal agreement between the city and county governments for a tax-incremental funding bond for the Holiday Inn project on South Canal Street, which has been open for some time.

Under a TIF agreement, cities and counties agree to give up to a certain amount of ad valorem taxes on a property for a period of time if the money that would have been paid in taxes is invested in infrastructure.

Lazarus said the TIF agreement was for a $400,000 road built with the project, which has since been dedicated back to the city.

Most of the county’s obligations — in this case, taxes given up for the project —have already been met, Lazarus said.