The first project paid for by the recently voter-approved road bond is underway in southern Smith County.

Smith County Road and Bridge employees have been working this week to overlay County Road 119, just outside of Bullard. The county crews ground the existing pavement, reshaped and compacted the material and are now overlaying the roadway with hot mix asphalt. This work should is anticipated to be completed by the end of this week.

The Road and Bridge crew will start next on the neighboring CR 113, then on to CR 152, also known as East Bowie Road. All three roads will be reworked and overlaid by Road and Bridge crews.

Smith County anticipated beginning road bond projects in May or June, when money from the $39.5 million bond comes in. But, the timeline was moved up because the Commissioners Court in January approved a resolution allowing the county to borrow money from itself to start on the road projects, and reimburse those bond expenditures after the bonds are sold.

County Judge Nathaniel Moran said it would allow the county to begin bond work sooner than anticipated, without paying for interest in the meantime. The timing of the sales of the bonds also coordinates with the anticipated receipt of the first set of bills for major road projects.

Steven Adams, managing director of Specialized Public Finance Inc., has reported that the bonds are planned to be issued in three parts over the next three years. The county plans to sell $12 million in bonds in May, followed by the sale of another $12 million in 2019, and $15.5 million in 2020, or as needed to complete the bond projects.

Adams explained the plan to undertake a competitive bid process for the bonds. Since they are highly-rated, short-term bonds, he expects them to be received well in the market. The county currently has an AA+ bond rating, which is equivalent to that of the United States federal government.

Adams presented a timeline and said he expects the bids to be awarded in May and the county to receive the bond proceeds into the construction fund in June.