In last week’s monthly meeting of the Blount County Commission, District 1 Commissioner Allen Armstrong and county engineer Dustin Stewart announced the long-awaited opening of the new Dean’s Ferry Road bridge in Hayden. The bridge was closed July 14, 2020. Over the last 11 months, the original bridge (built in the 1920s to carry traffic over the railway below) has been taken down and replaced.
Stewart said they were waiting on traffic striping to be completed along with a little paper work from ALDOT. All of that is complete and the bridge officially opened to traffic yesterday.
“This was a huge project,” Armstrong said. “We are all very proud to have it done.”
Also in District 1, both Armstrong and Stewart provided an update on the County Highway 7 repair project along with a projected schedule of work. Stewart said the project is approximately 15 percent complete with an estimated completion date of Aug. 1. Contractors have begun to clear trees and remove debris as well as reclamation of the downstream area.
The washout happened during the storms that came through Blount County on Easter Sunday in April 2020. The torrential rains and powerful winds hit a section of County Highway 7 causing the road to wash out creating a massive hole.
Commission chairman Chris Green provided a brief update on the multipurpose facility the county plans to build in Cleveland. The facility will provide a space for not only agricultural activities and economic development, but will also provide an area that can be used in times of public health crisis. Currently, officials are referring to the project as the Blount County Community Services Facility. The committee put in place by the commission to help with the project met yesterday and they will present their ideas at the July 8 commission work session.
The commission approved several other items before adjourning:
• Resolutions 2021-06-01 and 2021-06-02 for FY 2022 Rural Public Transportation 5311 grant application; resolution 2021-06-03 for FY 2022 Rural Public Transportation CARES grant application; and authorized chairman to execute documents.
• District 2 Commissioner Chad Trammel’s request to purchase a mini excavator as well as authorized financing/payment to take delivery in FY 2022; his request to surplus and sell by best means possible Asset #3745 SuperPac pad foot roller; and approved budget amendment for Alfa guardrail claim of $4,400.
• Authorized commission staff to mail annual bid requests in early July to be approved in August meeting.
• Budget amendment for D3 for Town of Highland Lake road work in the amount of $45,638.89 and a post driver for $564.99.
• Budget amendment for sheriff’s department for recovery on insurance for vehicle wrecked and damaged by a suspect during arrest.
• Budgeted funds in 116-52100- 231 for addition of window coverings for the upper deck of the jail in the amount of $6,019.
• Accounting entries and budget amendments referenced in the May 11 commission meeting regarding the Hayden Annex, engineering, and District 3 improvements.
• Status change for Staton Lane in Locust Fork (D4) to “not maintained by the county.”
• Transfer from CRAF-D3 in the amount of $218,156.56 for CR 42.
The next commission work session is set for 6 p.m. Thursday, July 8, with the business meeting to follow at 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 13.