Elk Valley Times

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County eyes Bearden Mill bridge

Posted on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 4:26 pm

The chances of another Elk River crossing gaining sufficient support seemed to diminish last week as officials learned that while the state could facilitate 80 percent funding for the project, the remaining 20 percent as well as the full cost of road construction would fall on the shoulders of Fayetteville and Lincoln County.

“I know she had tried and tried and tried to get federal funding for that project,” said Commissioner Doug Cunningham, chairman pro temp, during Tuesday’s meeting of the Lincoln County Commission after reading a letter from Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer and referring to Lincoln County Mayor Peggy Bevels’ efforts to secure funding for the Bearden Mill Road bridge project.

For several years, particularly since the 100-year flood that occurred in Fayetteville in 1990, the project has been identified as a significant need locally, primarily because it would provide another Elk River crossing point if something were to happen to prevent usage of the Huntsville Highway river crossing.

Schroer’s letter came in response to those efforts and basically stated that while the project would qualify for 80 percent funding through a federal program administered by the state, the 20 percent match would need to come from the city and county. Additionally, the federal funding would not cover the cost of road construction associated with the project.

“It would be a multi-million dollar project, so it is probably off the board for now,” said Cunningham, who was standing in for Bevels in chairing Tuesday’s meeting. Bevels’ husband, Virgil, had passed away the preceding evening, and consequently, she was not present for the meeting.

In other business, the commission voted to establish a new Lincoln County Audit Committee. The action came after a meeting of the Lincoln County Rules and Legislative Committee, held just prior to the commission meeting.

“The purpose was to form an audit committee,” said Commissioner Mark Monks, going on to say that the establishment of an audit committee is now a requirement for continued participation on the Three Star Program administered by the state.

The new audit committee, approved by the commission in a unanimous vote, will be comprised of five members, all with staggered terms. Three members will have initial terms of two years and two members will have initial terms of four years; after the initial terms, those terms will go to four years.

Next month, the commission is expected to make appointments to the committee, according to discussion. Additionally, commissioners will consider a draft resolution, which, once approved, will be submitted to the state controllers’ office.