Roads, bridges and other projects highlighted discussion by Harlan County Fiscal Court during its meeting on Thursday.
County Engineer Leo Miller updated the court on the Green Hills Water Project by saying, “If Kentucky Utilities had lived up to their contract, water would have been pumping on Monday.”
“Kentucky Utilities has not lived up to their contract,” said Miller. “The county pre-paid six months ago, so therefore, they (KU) are behind. We might, in two weeks, pump some water. Tank is done — pump station is done and no power. (Cumberland Valley) RECC did their part. They have their two pump stations. Kentucky Utilities doesn’t have theirs.”
Magistrate Bill Moore told members of the court “he has a situation at Ages” where Ages Creek Road was supposed to have been paved April 18, 2011. He said for “almost a year this road has been torn up because of a sewer line project.”
“We’ve put gravel on it — graded it and done about everything we can do for it,” said Moore. “It’s a shame the road is like this. The road is in bad shape. We can’t even get hot mix to patch it with. They’re not even coming back to fix pot holes and stuff and we’re having to go back with gravel and it just won’t stay in. We’ve got a bad situation up there and it’s hurting our people in that area.”
Magistrate David Kennedy said he is having the same problem in his district. He said there is money appropriated in the bids to pay for re-blacktop of roads torn up from sewer line projects.
“The county shouldn’t have to pay for this,” said Kennedy. “Mountain Enterprises said the reason they are not making blacktop in Harlan County is because they don’t have any jobs. They told me the state has not allotted any projects for them to do in our area.”
County Road Supervisor Marvin Goins said he was told Mountain Enterprises will be in Harlan County on Monday to begin blacktopping roads. He said as long as the temperature stays above 45 degrees paving can be done.
“If you wait up until November and early December, you get a sorry blacktopping job,” said Kennedy. “It just don’t hold up.”
Moore suggested writing a letter to the owner of Mountain Enterprises expressing the county’s concerns over their company tardiness in seeing that roads are blacktopped in Harlan County.
“We’ve gone through this for the last 14 years and you can’t get Mountain Enterprises to do anything,” said Magistrate Jim Roddy. “Mountain Enterprises is the only one who blacktops in this area. There’s no competition.”
Miller said all sewer and water contractors have the responsibility of putting blacktop back. He said the county has a contract with Mountain Enterprises and it is cheaper than a water/sewer contractor puts in his bid.
“The contractor always has to use Mountain Enterprises,” said Miller. “We get a better job. Last year at Ages, it was so late when I got the MOA (memorandum of agreement) to do patching, we let them know it had to wait until spring. Then it was September, and nothing, so I let them know I was putting this back on the contractors to get it done. Where is the contractor going to get it done, I don’t know, but the contractor is going to have to get it done. The blacktop plant is not open. Their excuse is they don’t have the work in Harlan County — money wise, to come back for a week’s worth of work. Yesterday, they did call and say they would be back on Monday to work in Ages and Grays Knob.”
Kennedy said he didn’t “buy Mountain Enterprises’ excuse” that there is not enough work in the county to open up their plant.
“Just a month or two ago they came in to the county, opened the plant up and blacktopped the entrance to Southeast college in Cumberland and around that intersection, and then shut it back down,” said Kennedy. “That was a one-day job, a tiny little project.”
Moore expressed concern over three bridges in his district that have no railings. He said with the recent death of a man in Letcher County going over the side of a bridge with no railings, he is concerned for the residents in his area facing the same consequences.
“We need to do something to get rails on these three bridges at Ages,” said Moore.”If you come out on those bridges at night, it could be very dangerous.
Goins said he will look at the bridges and take care of that situation as soon as possible.
Magistrate Delbert Stephens asked the court for an update on the sewer line project from Dayhoit to the Wallins Creek bridge. He said Leo Miller had turned in billings for blueprints and aerial work. Stephens said he is getting a lot of questions from residents about when this project will be completed.
“Leo told me they didn’t have the money to go over into the community yet, but we could pick them up along the way,” said Stephens. “I need to answer back to the people of the 5th District. This was Jim Roark’s project and since his passing it got put on the back burner. It looks like every other district has gotten projects either done or started on. I want to know and the people want to know when are we moving forward on this project.”
Miller said the engineering part of the project is “almost completed.” He said the pump stations will be strategically placed to pick up communities at a later date.
“I can probably get the design in, we are talking about fall, November or December, and construction in the spring,” said Miller.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510 or at firstname.lastname@example.org