County considers paving Longview Road

County Engineer Clyde Pritchard explains plans for potentially paving part of Longview Road in Monday night's Board of Supervisors meeting. (Photo by Faith Lifer, SDN)

Faith Lifer
Staff Writer

Longview Road stole the stage of Monday night’s Board of Supervisors meeting. 

Before the board opened the floor to Oktibbeha resident Peggy Rogers to speak on Longview Road, two separate Oktibbeha residents had already urged the Board of Supervisors to consider paving Longview Road during the citizen comment period of the meeting. 

Rogers came to the board to ask what progress had been made to pave Longview Road since the last meeting. 

“We want our children and our community to be as safe as any other community, ” Rogers said. “Safety is our number one issue, and it’s not safe.”

The paving of Longview Road was originally the board’s top project for this term, but ultimately federal dollars were allocated to bridge inspections instead of road projects. 

“It now appears that, after two and a half years, the federal dollars are not going to match,” District 4 Supervisor Bricklee Miller said of the federal money originally intended for paving Longview Road. 

Without the federal money, the paving of Longview Road would cost Oktibbeha County over $5 million, money the county does not currently have to spend on Longview Road. 

District 1 Supervisor and Vice President John Montgomery views the Longview Road issues as a funding issue.

“I can’t understand why anybody wouldn’t want this road done,” Montgomery said. “But I can’t change what comes down on a federal or a state level as a county supervisor.”

Although the county cannot get federal grants this term, the board has urged the state for permission to pave part of Longview Road since they cannot pave the whole road.

After meeting with County Engineer Clyde Pritchard, the board determined there may be the opportunity to pave the west end, Highway 12 past First Baptist Church of Longview, and the east end, from Highway 25 to Bluefield Road, of Longview Road.

“I’d love to have the entire road paved,” Rogers said. “We need some relief. It’s not safe.”

According to Rogers, dust clouds form on the road when cars drive down it, making the road accident-prone due to low visibility.

Oktibbeha resident Doug Stone also expressed concern over the lack of improved roads in Oktibbeha County in general. Stone believes county roads are an age-old issue. 

“The whole county is patchwork,” Stone said, referring to the patches of paved road along the stretches of unpaved road. “It looks like a patchwork quilt.”

Stone said he just purchased new tires for his wife’s car, which they have to change more than he would like due to the low quality of county roads.

“This is a major county-wide issue,” Stone said. “We all bleed the same and all drive on county roads.”

Overall, Rogers tries to stay positive and patient as she fights for the pavement of Longview Road. 

“I thought (the meeting) was encouraging, but there have been a lot of encouraging moments with no progression,” Rogers said. 

Next Steps

The county’s next step is to develop a plan for paving the east and west ends of Longview Road. Afterward, the plan would need to be approved by the state.

According to Pritchard, if everything goes accordingly, the county could probably have the east and west ends of Longview Road paved by springtime.

The new plans will also need to meet federal specifications if the project has a chance be completed in the 2020 term with federal money.