'Out of the dust': County to pave all of Longview Road

Faith Lifer
Staff Writer

After plans were approved to pave part of Longview Road in September, the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors adopted new plans to pave all of Longview Road at its recess meeting Monday night.

District 3 Supervisor Marvell Howard was absent from Monday’s meeting for personal reasons.

Oktibbeha County Engineer Clyde Pritchard came before the board Monday to ask for approval to move forward with plans to pave all 3.77 miles of Longview Road.

“I am pleased to present to you tonight a revised program that allows us to pave the length of Longview Road,” Pritchard said.

The room burst with citizen applause following Pritchard's exclamation.

Pritchard said plans were devised to pave the full length of the road over three meetings between Pritchard and state aid. Pritchard said state aid “relaxed” certain road standards to devise a plan to fully pave the road. For example, the road will now be paved to a width of 22 feet, which is less wide than the original plans that included curbs and gutters. The plans reclassify Longview Road as a rural road to ease road construction standards, allowing for further paving.

“The job originally started as a federally-funded project that had very stringent design criteria for width and shoulders and pavements,” Pritchard said. “It’s (now) been reclassified basically to a rural roadway that relaxed a lot of that, which let us stretch a mile.”

The road plans were also reclassified from a federal project to a state project.

“The dollars didn’t change, but what we had to do with the dollars changed,” Pritchard said.

The project is still funded by:
• $886,000 in state aid money
• $250,000 of county money
• $750,000 from BP oil spill settlement

“So that covers the construction and fees we believe,” Pritchard added.

The new plans to pave the full length of the road come after the board approved a plan to pave 2.08 miles of the road during a meeting on Sept. 17, leaving 1.68 miles in the middle of the road unpaved. Pritchard said he anticipates the new plans for Longview Road to be completed by the end of the year.

“I would anticipate that the plans would be completed by Christmas,” Pritchard said. “We would bid the project in the spring and hopefully get to construction this summer.”

“I just want to thank you for the extra effort you’ve taken,” District 4 Supervisor Bricklee Miller said to Pritchard. "He's gone over and beyond what a county engineer’s requirements are."

Pritchard said he is “very pleased” with the plans for Longview Road moving forward.

“It’s been a long haul,” Pritchard said. “It’s been a struggle for the board, and we’re glad to see it come to fruition.”

Pritchard also assured county leaders if federal money does become available in the future, the new plans would not jeopardize any future plans of adding onto the road.

“The money that is being spent in this phase of the project won’t be sacrificed if federal money comes along,” Pritchard said.