The city council of Argo met Jan. 27 in a special work session to discuss the issue roads the city has contracted with the County to repair. Several citizens were in attendance to hear the updates on the $102,845.15 contract to fix several roads around town. But the update on the roads was not the hot topic of the night; instead, the council got into a heated discussion on the section of Liles Lane that crosses over interstate 59.
Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) denied responsibility for the road, claiming it was the county’s responsibility; however, the county claimed that there was a statute in 1995 that says if a municipality annexes both sides of the road it takes responsibility for the road. Councilman Corky Massey explained that the statute was the first part of the incorporation of Argo in 1984, and that it does not apply to the city. “The state has not given us any documents where we agreed to take it over, we can not afford to take it over,” said Massey.
Massey is the owner of Massey Asphalt Paving and told the council that he went out on his own and patched some of the potholes. Senator Jim McClendon was in attendance and presented a letter from Russell Taylor, ALDOT plans review engineer, which said that ALDOT is only responsible for the maintenance for the section of road up to the denied access fence line. Mayor Betty Bradley explained to the council that the city has never maintained the road, the state always has and the last time it was paved was about 11 years ago. Bradley said that the city has applied for several grants but was turned down for everyone they applied for.
The city of Argo recently received a check from Gov. Kay Ivey in the amount of $6,000 from the recent gas tax increase, and Bradley proposed using that money and future checks from the state to repair the road. Bradley asked the county if there was anything they could do to help, and although officials said they could, they can not take sole ownership and maintenance of the road.
County Engineer Dan Danhlke estimated the cost to be $65,000 to $75,000 just to repave the stretch of road. Massey did not agree with the idea of Argo taking control due to future costs in the coming years. Springville Mayor William Isley Jr. was in attendance and proposed the idea of multiple municipalities that frequently use the stretch of road jointly maintain the road because it serves a common public purpose. Springville is willing to talk about possibly sharing in the cost of the road with Argo then taking ownership if the road. Margaret, Springville, Argo, Trussville and Odenville are all the municipalities that utilize this road.
Bradley emphasized the importance of fixing the road due to a citizen who recently blew a tire traveling along that road. She said she fears someone trying to avoid potholes and hitting another car head on.
The council agreed to continue discussions with the surrounding municipalities to find a way to repair the road.