Smith County Engineer Frank Davis has plans for several road bond projects to be done in the next couple of months.
During Commissioners Court Davis gave the second monthly report on the progress of the $39.5 million bond approved by voters in November.
Four roads in the Bullard area are pegged for reconstruction and overlay in February. They include County Roads 113, 119, 121, and 152.
Last week, Smith County Road and Bridge employees began working on the first road bond project — to overlay CR 119. The county crews ground the existing pavement, reshaped and compacted the material and overlaid the roadway with hot mix asphalt.
The Road and Bridge crew will start next on the neighboring CR 113, then on to CR 152, also known as East Bowie Road, and CR 121. All four roads will be reworked and overlaid by Road and Bridge crews, Davis said. Work will be done to a total of 5.1 miles of roadway.
In March, Davis said his crews will move to doing the same work on portions of six roads in the Troup area. They will include CR 2151, 2156, 2157, 2185, 2186 and 2338. The projects will add up to nearly 3 miles of roadway.
Davis said some of the county roads, such as CR 2151, are partly owned by the county and partly owned by the City of Troup. Drivers have to travel the city street to reach the county road, he added.
He said they are working on an interlocal agreement to bring to the Commissioners Court for approval, which would allow the Smith County Road and Bridge crews to conduct the work on the roads while the City of Troup would reimburse the county for materials and other costs.
Davis said weather could be an issue in the coming months and could delay some of the projects.
Regardless of any weather delays, Smith County has started the road bond work months earlier than originally planned.
Smith County anticipated beginning road bond projects in May or June, when money from the 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.
“I’d like to thank the court for advancing the money so we can start on the road bond projects,” Commissioner Jeff Warr said Tuesday.
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.
Davis’ report can be found under the Road and Bridge Strategic Planning Project information at www.smith-county.com.