Talladega County Commission accepts detour route for sinkhole project
by Shane Dunaway
TALLADEGA COUNTY – The County Commission voted unanimously to accept the official proposed detour route submitted by the Alabama Department of Transportation during the meeting held Monday.

The proposed route involves funneling traffic traveling northbound on Alabama 21 at Sylacauga and Winterboro over to U.S. 280 westbound. Drivers will be directed from U.S. 280 to Alabama 235, then north continuing on Talladega County 203 to Alabama 275 in Talladega.

Representatives from ALDOT plan to sign, mark and perform minor maintenance in order to prepare the county route for the proposed detour, according to a letter sent to County Engineer Tim Markert from ALDOT District Manager Stephen Blair.

The planned detour is set to take effect once construction begins to repair two sinkholes on Alabama 21 near mile marker 225.

District 4 Commissioner Jimmy Roberson asked Markert if a date had been established for the sinkhole project to begin.

“I talked to the assistant division engineer today,” Markert said. “He said soon. He said the plans are ready and they’re waiting on Montgomery to award the bid.”

District 3 Commissioner Kelvin Cunningham also had questions for Markert, asking if there would be any electronic signs anywhere on the detour.

Markert speculated there could be electronic signs posted on 280 and 235, but he was not certain since the signs don’t always come as part of the construction project package.

During the June 24 meeting, concerned citizens Barbara Moore and Clarice Smith addressed the board with utility and access concerns regarding their respective properties lying near the sinkholes.

Markert provided up-to-date answers addressing those concerns.

“I talked to the DOT the very next day,” Markert said. “They told me they would continue to attempt contacting them and they assured me they would reach them. I did get answers for their utilities concerns. I was told unless something bad happens, utilities won’t be affected.”

Markert added the residents would be able to exit their driveways by going up and around the property instead of having to drive through each other’s yards.

District 2 Commissioner John Luker did not attend the meeting.

In other business, the commission:

• Voted 4-0 to amend the meeting minutes to include new Talladega County Emergency Management Agency hire Miriam Thornton, emergency management specialist.

• Unanimously approved the June 24 meeting minutes.

• Voted 4-0 to approve a Memorandum of Agreement between the Alabama Emergency Management Agency and the county EMA regarding a pre-positioned generator. County EMA Director Deborah Gaither presented the document stating the county EMA will help maintain the generators.

• Unanimously approved a Memorandum of Agreement between the East Alabama Planning Commission Senior Aides Program and the county EMA allowing the latter to participate in the program and allow a senior to come work at EMA for 19 hours per week.

• Voted 4-0 on County Administrator Wayne Hall’s request to table voting on the bids for the judicial building’s internal light replacement project. Hall said the base bids of $178,124 from McLeod Electric and $159,777 from P.G. Wells Enterprises both exceeded the proposed budget for the project.

• Approved Hall’s request to table a decision on a Digital Information Cooperative Agreement between ALDOT and the county regarding sharing data obtained via aerial photography. The total grant amount equals $11,000.

• Approved budget amendments, conference requests, personnel changes, expenditures and operational transfers.

• Announced the next Commission meeting is scheduled for July 29 at 6 p.m.

Contact Shane Dunaway at sdunaway@dailyhome.com

© 2013