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Residents take potshots over potholes

By By Connie Nowlin Managing editor
Anyone who drives Escambia County Road 1, or Jack Springs Road, as it is known in Atmore, can tell that it needs work.
Jack Davis travels the road three or four times a week.
"It is nothing but holes on both sides, so you can't dodge them," he said. "It's just a mess. The only reason there aren't more accidents is that people have gotten used to being very cautious. That is how it should be, but we still need a better highway."
Davis' comments came at a meeting held Friday at City Hall. There were 7-10 people in attendance, mostly residents of Jack Springs Road, who want to know what is going on with the highway.
The south end of the road was resurfaced about 10 years ago, according to county commission chairman Larry White. Funds from the federal access route program were used then, and funds from that program may only be used on the same road once every 10 years. That means the road will be eligible for those funds again at the beginning of the next fiscal year, in October.
Since there is so much traffic on CR 1 from the interstate now, a move was made about a year ago to change the road's designation to a state route. A delegation of area people, Atmore Mayor Howard Shell, county commissioners Wiley Tait and Larry White, and Tribal Chairman Eddie Tullis of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, got behind the move to change the road.
"We got Rep. (Pat) Lindsey and Skip White to help us," Shell said. "We wanted to request it become a state road all the way to Three Mile Road. But we found out how hard it is to change."
William America, a former county commissioner, has been ramrodding the drive to pave CR 1.
He said current commissioners told him that the county did not have the money to match the federal funds, so the road work could not commence. He also said the commissioners he contacted did not come to the meeting because they had nothing to tell the people.
Shell told the assembly that he did not want to point fingers at anyone.
"If we don't work together, we won't ever get it done. Anything we can do to improve the road improves the whole community."
White, who said he always has the folder for CR 1 on his desk, said it is on the priority list for resurfacing as soon as the federal access funding can be used on the project. He also acknowledged that the road is not holding up under the heavy traffic it now carries.
He hopes to have good news about CR 1 when the new fiscal year starts. But the cost to resurface the road will exceed the yearly allocation of federal funds.
"The engineering estimate is $700,000," he said. "To resurface all the way to Booneville Road is $1.2 million. We hope improvements will be started in the next budget year, but the county must allow the allocations to accumulate to complete the entire project. We ma be doing the road in phases as money becomes available."