CHARLESTON -- The next bridge replacement project in Mississippi County is slated for 2007, according to county commissioners.
Off-systems Bridge Replacement Program funds for preliminary engineering on a bridge replacement project on County Road 522 where it crosses the Wolf Hole lateral will be obligated in October for the federal fiscal year 2007 budget, County Clerk Junior DeLay said during the Commission's regular meeting Thursday.
Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said that would have been a perfect place for a rail car bridge but the county is no longer able to get rail cars due to the increased demand for steel over the last few years.
Before steel prices shot up, county crews were able to put bridges in themselves using rail cars for around $35,000, Blumenberg recalled.
The engineering costs is a major part of the cost for constructed bridges, according to commissioners.
Another option for county officials to consider is using precast concrete bridge components.
Commissioner Homer Oliver said the engineering cost on precast bridges is usually "part of the package."
While the county has never tried a precast bridge, Blumenberg said the county probably wouldn't save much money over the cost of a constructed bridge.
In other business Thursday:
* Commissioners received the 2005 annual report from the county's Senate Bill 40 Board.
According to the report, the county's SB-40 fund had $1.19 million in total available funds as of the last day of 2005.
The report shows $291,690 in expenses for the year including $100,000 for a special donation to the Community Sheltered Workshop in Sikeston and a $5,000 donation to the New Dawn State School in Sikeston in exchange for the facilities providing services for the handicapped in Mississippi County.
Also included in the expenses was $26,314 in transportation costs to bring the county's handicapped to the Sikeston facilities.
The board is saving money toward the purchase of a group home for the county's handicapped.
* The county will mix its own asphalt for this year's blacktopping, commissioners agreed.
"We're going to have to do some road work this year," Blumenberg said.
Some roads are in bad enough shape they will definitely need cold-mix asphalt, he said.
"We're still going to use a lot of chip-and-seal," Blumenberg added.
Blumenberg said if rock for chip-and-seal blacktop is available in addition to the oil they need, the county should go ahead and get them both.
Chat available locally is too soft to get the best chip-and-seal results, according to Commissioner Martin Lucas.
"I don't know what it is, but I don't think it's limestone," Oliver said.
* Oliver said the county needs to begin spraying for thistles early next month.
"I'd like to kill that stuff as soon as it comes out," he said.
Lucas suggested the county could use laborers from the Southeast Correctional Center in Charleston for spraying operations.
Blumenberg said the prison has added 50 people to its work program so laborers should be available.
"It's really a two-man operation," Oliver said. "Somebody drives, somebody sprays."
Overall, the county's ditches are in good shape, commissioners agreed.
"Right now we're ahead of the game - we just need to stay there," Oliver said.
* Commissioners agreed to haul topdressing material from Mounds, Ill., for East Prairie's baseball fields as requested by Ricky Penrod on behalf of the city's park board.
"From a distance it looks like red clay," DeLay said. "It's real fine - almost looks like red sand."
* Commissioners will get a price on a new or newly-rebuilt engine for the Mississippi County Detention Center's 1999 one-ton prisoner transport van.
Blumenberg said it is worth repairing "because the van's in good shape."