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Nubbin Hill residents ask when road, bridge will open

By Staff, 08/14/19 9:51 AM

PRESCOTT – Residents from the Nubbin Hill area were at the August meeting of the Nevada County Quorum Court to get answers as to how long Nubbin Hill Road will be closed.

The road was closed when the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department closed the bridge over Cold Run Creek saying it’s a danger to the public and must be replaced. It was pointed out plans to replace the bridge have been in place for three years. The holdup has been getting property owners in the area to sign easements to allow construction to be done.

Nevada County Judge Mark Glass told the residents a new set of plans has been drawn up and removes the detour, which was a sticking point with the old plan, as was the removal of some trees. He said the plans will be presented to Prescott Mayor Terry Oliver for the moving of 600-feet of water line in the area. The new plans, he added, don’t call for any utility poles to be moved, where the former plans did. Glass told the people he’s waiting on a court order from the state and once it’s in hand and filed, owners will be asked to sign easements to allow the project to go forward. He said Little Rock has put a rush on the court order to try and fast track the project.

If all goes well, he said, bids can be advertised for 30 days with the contract let and work beginning immediately thereafter. Glass said the road will be built up and a new, permanent bridge will be constructed using box culverts.

Questions were raised about the bridge on 5-Way Market Road as well. Glass said bids will be let Wednesday and work should begin next week. He said this will be a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) project with the county being reimbursed 75 percent of the cost. This bridge will be fixed back the way it was, with the exception of the head wall being buried four-feet deep, where it was 18-inches deep before. The rail car there now, he continued, will remain, with the end that’s fallen in being repaired. In the future, he said, he’d like to add additional support in the middle of the bridge to allow for greater tonnage capacity.

He said landowners will get a copy of the plans showing where the easements will need to be.

Justice of the Peace Chris Fore, who works for Hope Water and Light, was asked how long it would take to move 600-feet of water line. He said this would depend on the size of the line, but if it’s two-inch pipe, it shouldn’t take long. He also pointed out there’s more to it than just moving the lines. Water will be shut off where the lines are moved and the water will have to be tested by the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) before being allowed to go to people’s homes. This could take two or three days, he said, but only the new section would be involved.

Glass added Centurylink won’t hold the city or county responsible if any fiber optic lines are cut on the project and will sign off on the damages.

 Additionally, he said he wanted the plans in place before asking for the easements so he could show property owners which parts of their land would be affected. Should the owners balk, he added, the county will take the land under eminent domain, though this will take longer as the county will have to go through the court to do this and pay fair market value for the land involved.

Residents complained saying it’s not only inconvenient to have to take alternate routes around Nubbin Hill Road, but slows emergency response time and could cost someone their life, especially as the population in the area is aging. It was pointed out no one knows what kind of winter the area will have.

“I almost begged Little Rock to make it a one-lane bridge,” he said, “and not close it. The center is still good.” He said he also offered for the county to buy the trees that would need to be cut down under the old plan, but was turned down.

Once work begins on the project, he said, it will take two or three months to build the new bridge, which will have four-foot wide shoulders on both sides of the road for 500-feet on either side of the bridge, with the road to be raised as well. the bridge itself will be 50-feet wide. However, he added, the completion time will also depend on the weather as the wet season is approaching.

The court renewed the county’s five-year contract with the Nevada County Ambulance Service (NCAS) along with the $20,000 annual stipend.

Fore questioned the stipend, asking how many other businesses get this kind of funding from the county. He was told the NCAS makes a lot of runs for the Nevada County Jail the county’s not billed for. The new contract will begin when the old one expires on Jan. 1, 2020.

Nick Hibbs, NCAS owner, informed the court there are two ambulances working 24/7 with efforts made to minimize when both are out of the area at once. He said, another crew is called in for scheduled transfers. “I feel like this is the county’s ambulance service and we’re just the stewards of it.”

People, he added, can get free blood pressure checks at the service, which doesn’t get a lot of negative feedback, but receives a good deal of praise for its work. “We try to minimize any problems.”

He told the court the NCAS has made 1,075 calls so far this year and doesn’t have much turnover as most crews are paramedics. The NCAS, he said, has high standards for its employees and those who can’t meet them go elsewhere to work.

The court approved $500 for the coroner’s budget for the disposal of an unclaimed body. Glass said this is the second one this year.

the court discussed seating in the courthouse. Glass said Deputy Robert Missey asked if he could get bids on the project and contacted the Arkansas Department of Corrections (ADC). Missey came back with a proposal of more than $11,000 for 12 wooden benches 12-13 feet wide.

Glass said if the county ordered 12 benches it would get a 5 percent discount which would drop the price to around $10,500. Missey pointed out the benches would be stained to match the interior of the courthouse, but wouldn’t be padded. He added 309 inmates in the NC Jail could remove the existing seating.

Nevada County Clerk Julie Oliver said new carpet needs to be put down before the benches are installed as the carpet in the courtroom has been there 26-27 years. Mary Godwin, executive director of the Prescott-Nevada County Economic Development Office, said grants are available for such a project.

Missey added the “pews” would have a lifetime guarantee from the ADC and would be repaired or replaced if there are any problems. However, the bid is only good for 45 days, he said.

It was suggested Missey get a quote on how much the “pews” would cost if they were padded, but the padding needs to be leather, not fabric. JP Bob Cummings reminded the court this project would have to be coordinated with various judges using the courtroom as it will affect their schedules.

The question was also raised concerning the county being reimbursed for the disasters it’s been through this year. Glass said the county is finishing the work for the state and will be reimbursed 35 percent of the overall cost and the paperwork is about half finished. He said the county could get $60,000 to $80,000 when all’s said and done. For the FEMA projects, he reminded the court the county would be reimbursed 75 percent of the total cost, but it will take a while to get the money.

He said the county would need to take money from the Road and Bridge Department for the bridge over Cold Run Creek at 5-Way Market. He said a certificate of deposit (CD) could be cashed in to do this, and the money would be replaced when either the state or FEMA reimburses the county. He said there are two bids expected for this project, both from licensed and bonded contractors.

Godwin, at the start of the meeting, said there are grants available for the county and any incorporated cities therein with the focus on flooding and drainage. These, she said, are 75-25 matching grants, but the deadline to apply is Sept. 1. Bodcaw and Prescott, she added, plan to apply.

County Agent Darren Neal introduced the  court to the new 4-H agent, Pressley Capps, who replaces Shelbi Pinson, who took a job with the Nevada School District.