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Bridge, Ramp Repairs, Emergency Exits, Discussed At Lawrence County Commissioners Meeting
Updated November 30, 2016 7:47 AM
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(BEDFORD) - New Lawrence County Commissioner Rodney Fish missed his first meeting Tuesday morning.

That is because Fish was attending raining meetings in Indianapolis.

Commissioners Bill Spreen and David Flinn joined Fish as soon as Tuesday's meeting adjourned.

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Lawrence County Highway Superintendent David Holmes will meet with INDOT and historic representatives today to discuss the replacement of Bridge 150 on Mill Creek Road.

The bridge is considered a historical bridge and Holmes says that adds red-tape when doing repairs. The repairs could cost more than $1.4 million dollars.

"The bridge is in really bad shape," Holmes added. "I would like to replace it and build a similar one in appearance... I don't think it can be rehabilitated. We will know more after this meeting."

Bids for Bridge 25 at Otis Park by the old tennis courts are out, they are due by December 13. The bids will be open that day and then taken under advisement. County officials are requiring the bridge be completed by May 23.

The City of Bedford has agreed to pay half of the costs.

Holmes says 11 bridges will be inspected next year at a cost of around $12,000.

Road crews are gearing up for winter.

"The sand piles are stocked, hopefully we won't have to use them," Holmes added. "We are just waiting for winter mode to kick in."

Commissioner Bill Spreen added county residents need to remember bad weather will cause some of the numerous dead trees in the county to fall and motorists need to be careful went traveling county roads during rain and snow storms. Crews will work as fast as possible to clear the debris.

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Sheriff Mike Branham reported there were 137 inmates in the county jail. Of those 28 were females, 11 were Level D felons and there was 1 Department of Correction holds. That number is down from two weeks ago.

DLZ engineers met with contractors Tuesday afternoon to discuss the bid process to make repairs to both ramps in front of the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department to make them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act

Sheriff Branham estimated the cost at $160,000 to repair both ramps. Bids will be received on December 6 and accepted on December 13.

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The commissioners voted to replace three heat exchange units in the Courthouse Plaza. Each unit cost $1,630 and will be replaced by Meadows Heating & Cooling.

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Emergency Management Director Valerie Luchauer has completed evacuation maps for the Lawrence County Courthouse which shows all the emergency exits and how employees can evacuate the building safely. She is now working on maps for Courthouse Plaza, the Public Offenders building and the Health Department.

Her department will host a tabletop exercise with courthouse employees on Thursday, December 8. The incident will simulate a situation at the courthouse and staff will evacuate the building. A second exercise will be held that afternoon, simulating a situation where the staff must relocated to the Lawrence County Fairgrounds.

Luchauer says many of the surrounding counties had issued burn bans, but Lawrence County didn't.

"I have kept in contact with our volunteer fire departments and we monitored the situation and there wasn't a need to issue a burn ban here," she added. "I believe we only had one field fire."

Luchauer is also keeping an eye on the wildfires raged in and near eastern Tennessee's mountainside resort town of Gatlinburg.

The fires on Tuesday, spurred evacuations and prompting conflicting reports about whether certain popular resorts have been destroyed or are in danger.

Several homes and businesses in the town nestled among the Great Smoky Mountains have been destroyed,

Four people have been injured in the blazes, which have been spurred by strong winds and the Southeast's worst drought in nearly a decade.

The fires have forced evacuations from downtown Gatlinburg -- a city of about 4,000 residents but a vacation attraction for many more -- as well as the town of Pigeon Forge and nearby communities.

Lauchauer says the destruction is sad, but she is picking up valuable information.

"We don't think too much about this happening here," she added. "But this is fairly close and many families here have vacationed there. I am picking up some lessons learned."

Lauchauer will use that information to better prepare Lawrence County if a similar situation would happen here.

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Perry Volunteer Fire Department Max Peters says the cell phone tower on Ind. 54/58 is not functioning and there is no cell phone service in the area once you drop over Red Hill.

Peters says without the cell phone reception, it makes it difficult for emergency crews or residents to call from assistance.

Peters believes if the tower had been activated it may have prevented the death of a Linton man involved in an accident there Monday morning.



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