Paving funds don’t trickle down to smaller streets, roads

Published 10:08 pm Saturday, October 12, 2013

Some Dallas County roads will soon be as smooth as glass thanks to nearly $11 million from the Alabama Department of Transportation, but some residents may be left wondering when their neighborhood streets will receive the same treatment.

Selma and Dallas County received money after applying to be participants in the Alabama Transportation Rehabilitation and Improvement Program. The funds are mainly focused on repaving and resurfacing roads with high amounts of traffic.

Selma received approximately $3.5 million from the program to resurface Old Cahaba Road, Medical Center Parkway, Water Avenue and Summerfield Road. The county received more than $7 million to complete 13 projects throughout the county.

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District 2 Dallas County Commissioner Roy Moore said Selma and Dallas County residents may think the $11 million means residential streets will also be paved.

“We hope the public can understand that this isn’t a neighborhood project,” Moore said. “We wish we could take care of all of the streets.”

The wait may be quite lengthy for Selma residents.

Ward 4 Selma City Councilwoman Angela Benjamin said outstanding work order requests have piled up, resulting in delayed responses.

“Citizens often call because the process is not understood and it takes so long to get public works or code enforcement out there,” Benjamin said.

Benjamin is specifically concerned with Fleetwood Drive, classified as an alligator-backed street.

The term alligator-backed refers to the cracked and creviced appearance of a street. Benjamin said the public works department has patched potholes on Fleetwood many times, but the repairs only last a short time, especially during times of heavy rain.

“In July it seemingly rained everyday,” she said. “The potholes have just been returning for about a year now. They are filled each time but were pounded with cars and rain, which made the holes come back.”

During Tuesday’s city council meeting, Selma Mayor George Evans said the street requires more than patching potholes. It would have to be completely resurfaced.

The public works department has $20,000 budgeted for street maintenance in the city’s fiscal year 2014 budget. Street maintenance funds will be used for asphalt, pot hole mix, concrete and other materials, according to the budget.

Subsequently, Benjamin put the resurfacing of Fleetwood on the capital projects list, which is also piled high with requests.

“There is no timeline yet on when it might be paved,” Benjamin said. “When we get some capital improvement money, we may have a better idea of a timeline.”

Dallas County residents may also have to wait a bit before cruising across smooth streets, but the county’s process is slightly different. County engineer Coosa Jones said Dallas County receives approximately $500,000 each year for road projects.