Hot Springs files for bond funds to repave roads

City directors seek $993,000 from voter-backed bond debt

HOT SPRINGS — Garland County and Hot Springs are dedicating the first disbursements from their shares of a $54,695,000 bond issue voters approved last year to overlay projects they hope to complete this year.

The Hot Springs Board of Directors adopted a resolution during a special called meeting Tuesday to submit the annual paving list it approved earlier this year for reimbursement from the bond fund. The city has contracted Cranford Construction to overlay 5.5 miles of city streets for $993,000.

Per an agreement with Garland County, the city is entitled to $7.3 million in bond proceeds.

Collection of the fiveeighths percent sales tax securing the bond debt began July 1. Tax revenue is expected to retire the debt by 2023.

The county controls all bond fund disbursals, but County Judge Rick Davis said Friday that the incorporated areas of the county will decide which projects they want funded from their respective shares.

Agreements with those four cities give the county a $12.3 million population-based share. Mountain Pine has $160,000, Fountain Lake has $104,000 and Lonsdale has $20,000.

The agreements commit $30 million to partner with the state on a 5.16-mile extension of the King Expressway from the Arkansas 70 east interchange to the intersection of Arkansas 5 and Arkansas 7.

The county has contracted B&F Engineering Inc. to manage the local projects, paying the contract with interest income earned from investing the bond proceeds in U.S. Treasury bills and certificates of deposit. The cities and county will submit their projects for payment using the requisition process established by B&F and Jerry Pogue, Davis’ administrative assistant.

Bid documents will be provided, Davis said, explaining that B&F will evaluate the submissions for compliance with proper bid procedures and the ballot language voters approved during the June 28, 2016, special election. The ballot said the capital improvement bonds would pay for road, street, bridge and sidewalk improvements.

“It has to meet the criteria of the referendum,” Davis said. “[The county] is responsible for ensuring the money is spent in the way we told voters it would be spent.”

Davis said B&F has approved Mountain Pine’s proposal for new street signs on all its city streets.

Project invoices will be reviewed by B&F, Pogue, Davis and County Treasurer Tim Stockdale before they are submitted to Simmons Bank, the bond trustee, for payment. Pogue said the payment process will take about seven to 10 days.

The county is submitting four paving projects and one bridge project for payment from the bond fund. Davis said those projects could be let for bids by next month.

The bid package will comprise paving Cedar Glades Road from Arkansas 227 to Wildcat Road, Turkey Trot Lane from Cedar Glades Road to Blacksnake Road, Blacksnake Road from Turkey Trot Lane to Arkansas 227 and the entire length of Trooper Lane in Mid-America Industrial Park.

James Montgomery of B&F said the paving projects cover about 7 miles. The bridge project included in the package will add guard rails and signs to the Cedar Glades Road bridge over Bull Bayou.

Davis said his office worked with B&F and the Garland County Road Department to develop the county’s project list. He said using the bond money for paving will allow the county to stretch its paving budget and overlay more miles of less-trafficked roads.

A second bid package the county plans on submitting would pave Thornton Ferry Road from Albert Pike to Anderson Road and replace the DeArmon Bridge over Mill Creek. The bridge connects Ault Loop and Ault Trail to DeArmon Trail.

Davis said all of the bond-funded paving projects will have hot-mix overlays and include drainage, pipe replacement and widening the roads to 22 feet. He said most county roads are 18 to 19 feet wide and can be expanded by 2 feet on either side without going beyond the county’s right of way.

Davis said there are 109 bridges that are 20 feet or longer on county roads, making their prioritization difficult.

“It’s tough when you go out and look at them. There are so many that are bad. We’re just going to have to pick some and get started,” he said.

Davis said the county plans to combine bond funds with federal-aid money to replace the Slaughter Bridge over Gulpha Creek, noting that it could cost as much as $2 million to replace the 300-foot bridge.

The third bid package would include widening the Danville Road bridge over Lockett Creek and replacing the road’s bridge over the Lockett Creek tributary near Pitchercane Road.

Later bid packages will include replacing guard rails on the Amity Road bridge over the Little Mazarn Creek and widening both sides of the road’s bridge over Rush Fork Creek. Bond funds could also be applied to replacing the Farr Shores Drive bridge over White Oak Creek and the Mill Creek Road bridge over Gulpha Creek.

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