Board holds stance on Ridge Road gates

Published 7:00 am Thursday, June 8, 2017

During Monday’s meeting, the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors held to their previous stance that a quarter mile section of Ridge Road leading into Hancock County is private.
Butch Merrifield, a Pearl River County resident who said he stands to inherit land accessible by that stretch of road, addressed the Board for a second time on Monday, this time on behalf of Irma Frierson.
Merrifield said Frierson owns property along Ridge Road, but on the Hancock County side, that allegedly cannot be accessed due to a private resident erecting gates at both ends of the road.
The Board maintained their position, established at the March 22 meeting, that the quarter-mile of road in question was abandoned in the early 2000s when the county left it off the road map. County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin said it was inadvisable for the county to adopt that section of road because federal property borders that stretch as part of the buffer zone, and as such no houses exist or will be built along that road.
Merrifield said the Hancock County Board of Supervisors declared its portion of the road public, and is working through the process of having the gates in that county removed.
But, Board Attorney Joe Montgomery said the matter, as far as Pearl River County is concerned, is civil.
Merrifield also said that if the county never receives federal funds to realign and expand Ridge Road to Highway 607, adopting and repaving the road already in existence is a potential solution.
“If there’s already a road there, and you don’t get funds, why not just use that road that’s already there,” he said.
The Board took no action on the matter and moved forward to other matters.
District II Supervisor Malcolm Perry inquired about a bill sent to the Pearl River Central Water Association after a road near the Henleyfield McNeill Fire Department was damaged.
Lumpkin said he wasn’t aware of the bill being paid. Perry asked Montgomery to proceed with the process of recovering those funds.
County Engineer Les Dungan told the Board pavement work was complete on Rock Ranch and Springhill roads where bridge replacement projects have been underway for several months.
Dungan said traffic is open at both sites but there is still some work to complete. Two of the four bridges on Springhill Road have yet to be replaced, he said.
Work to repair erosion problems at Pearl River County Hospital is near completion. Dungan said the contractor was awaiting dry weather to finish repairs.
County Road Manager Charlie Schielder also requested permission to fix a drainage problem in the 900 block of Old Wiggins Highway where the intersection of a hill and curb have caused problems in the roadway. The Board approved the project.
Schielder also discussed the slow deterioration of the county’s tractors and bush hogs, saying many of them are at least 12-years-old and starting to fail. Though the Board took no action, Perry said he would like to see that equipment replaced “sooner rather than later” so crews can perform at maximum capacity.
The next Board meeting will be held June 21 at 9 a.m.
The July 3 Board meeting was rescheduled to July 5 due to the Fourth of July holiday.

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About Julia Arenstam

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