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Morgantown Road widening project progressing

 

NATCHEZ — For more than a decade, Adams County officials have inched their way through the legal process to widen, resurface, stripe and dig drainage ditches along Morgantown Road.

The project started four years after an 18-year-old crossing guard, Casey Schrock, was killed at the intersection of Morgantown and Booker roads in 2001.

The main obstacle slowing the project down is the sluggish legal process for attaining rights-of-way from the residents who live alongside the road, Adams County Attorney Scott Slover said.

As of Monday, Slover said supervisors are only eight parcels, out of a total of 64 properties, away from breaking ground on the approximately $1 million road project.

To move forward, the county must appraise each property individually “by the book” and come up with a fair value to obtain small strips of land — 1/10th of an acre to 2/10ths of an acre — on each parcel that would not require any material changes to any of the properties, Slover said.

“It’s well worth the money and the effort,” Slover said. “(Morgantown Road) is the most heavily traveled county road that we have.”

However, not every property owner can be easily reached or have come to an agreement on their property’s value, Slover said, adding some owners are now deceased or have moved.

“It could be there’s a disagreement with the property owners, a problem with their title or we might not be able to get in contact with them for one reason or another,” Slover said.

It is difficult to put a start date on the project until all of the legal proceedings are done with, Slover said, adding he believes that it will begin soon.

“This project is a top priority,” Slover said. “The project is well worth the money and the effort. … It is going to happen, and it’s going to happen as soon as possible.”

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