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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Bridges near Viola slated for replacement

Thursday, February 3, 2005

Staff Writer

The Arkansas Department of Transportation approved a grant Jan. 28 to replace two bridges on Pickering Hall Road in Viola, according to Fulton County Judge Charles Willett.

Willett said Fulton County will be required to pay 2 percent of the approximate $300,000 cost of the project.

The grant is a combination of state and federal funds.

"We've already made a down payment on the 2-percent portion we're supposed to cover," Willett said.

He said engineers will survey the bridges over the next several months. Once the surveys are completed, bids for the road work will be taken.

"Our hope is that work on the road will begin early next year," Willett said.

One option the engineers may consider is a single-span bridge that would overlap the two existing bridges.

David Mayo, an assistant with the Arkansas Department of Transportation, said his department uses a scoring system to determine which road projects receive state aid.

Mayo said if a road scores 50 or below on their scale it becomes a candidate for assistance.

Pickering Hall Road scored in the mid-20s, Willett said.

He said he wrote several letters to the Department of Engineering requesting aid to fix the road. Because of the letters, Mayo inspected Pickering Hall Road Jan. 11, Willett said.

Fulton County has been approved for a partial reimbursement grant to repair roads damaged Jan. 13 from flooding.

Fulton County will receive a 35-percent reimbursement for repairs to the damaged roads from the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.

"Most of the roads damaged in the flooding were in the western part of the county," Willett said. "This grant is good for six months."

He said if road repairs are not completed within the six-month time frame, the county will request an extension.

County workers have been replacing missing 9-1-1 signs.

"I would like to encourage people who have been stealing these signs to stop," Willett said. "If we catch someone stealing a sign they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

He said hundreds of signs are missing throughout the county.

Without signs, emergency personnel have difficulty finding specific places, Willett said. It also costs the county money to replace those signs, he said.

Willett, who was elected in November, said his first month as judge has been interesting.

"I was pretty much in awe the first week or so," he said with a smile. "It's hard to please everyone all the time. There's no training programs out there to teach you how to be a judge."

He said his transition into Fulton County's highest administrative post has been eased by his new staff.

"We've got some great help," Willett said. "Richard Frazier (road crew foreman) and Barbara Ninemire (office secretary) are great assets."

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