On the road in DeSoto County

DeSoto County Road Manager Andy Swims listens as District 2 Supervisor Mark Gardner makes a point during discussion of road plans for the county at Monday's Board of Supervisors meeting.

For as many times as Holly Springs Road has held the top spot on the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors 15-year Road Project List, one might think the project would be well under way by now.

However, the elimination of federal earmarks more than a decade ago followed by sequestration and the Great Recession of 2008 pushed that project to the back-burner.

The Board of Supervisors Monday approved its 15-year list of road improvements — including placing Holly Springs Road Phase 1 at the top — along with other must-do projects, but that doesn't mean its funding is automatically guaranteed.

Holly Springs Road is prone to frequent flooding and following a disastrous flood several years ago, the road was closed for months in order to make repairs to two bridges along the roadway which runs along the Coldwater River bottoms.

The Holly Springs Road Phase I project, which involves the eastern side of the project area, consists of 1.5 miles and would elevate the roadbed and two bridges at an estimated cost of between $15 million to $20 million.

If funded, the project could begin construction in fiscal year 2019.

Other top projects include planning and design for a new Nail Road Extension from Hacks Cross to Polk Lane, which would include a one-mile, three-lane road. That project carries a price tag of between $4 million to $7 million.

Another top project includes beginning design for an extension of Swinnea Road from Bankston Road to Starlanding, a six-tenths of a mile project that includes a new roadway and four-tenths of a mile which would be overlaid with asphalt on a two-lane roadway.

County Engineer Scott Young said it's never too early to begin planning for other projects far into the future.

"We need to start planning so we can get right-of-way and relocation (of utilities)," Young said. "We feel like we have a better list than we have had in the past."

Other projects during the next four years include widening of Craft Road from Bethel to Hawks Crossing, elevating Fogg Road near Conger Road and building a new road to the planned new National Guard Armory off Starlanding Road consisting of 0.25 miles.

Additionally, the county is embarking on a $3.2 million overlay project in the coming year, according to County Road Manager Andy Swims.

A portion of Byhalia Road near I-269 will be paved, Swims added.

Supervisors also discussed the need for a construction entrance into Robison Crossing subdivision off Pleasant Hill Road so that other roads in the subdivision will not be torn up by cement trucks and lumber trucks along with other heavy equipment.

"All of a sudden the economy has improved and heavy trucks are going through there again," District 2 Supervisor Mark Gardner said. "My suggestion is that we get another entrance there even if it's gravel."

Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at rlong@desototimestribune.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.

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