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County to upgrade bridge

Ryan “Hoot” Wilson didn’t get to celebrate his birthday with his family but his family celebrated when Pike County commissioners voted unanimously to spend $13,000 to improve the bridge where he wrecked and lost his life. The decision was made at the Nov. 27 meeting, on what would have been Wilson’s 23rd birthday. Director of public works Todd Goolsby said the cost for a guard rail extending 50 feet from each corner of the bridge and an improved railing on the bridge would be $13,000. He said he can get the work on the bridge completed and apply for state funding to reimburse Pike. Commissioners voted to more forward with the Buffington Road bridge improvement and discussed ways to fund the work. It was noted there is $10,000 in the public works budge for bridge repair. Commissioner Don Collins suggested funding could be taken from the impact fee category which includes road improvement. County attorney Rob Morton said once courthouse construction is complete, some of the remaining Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax funds could be used since it is allocated for road and bridge improvements. Goolsby said he will review the options with director of planning and development David Allen and go ahead and repair the bridge. ”I just want to tell you thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” said Kim Irby who represented Wilson’s family at a previous meeting requesting the bridge improvement. ”Thank you Todd for all the work you’ve done and thank you all for listening to us,” Irby said. Family members sent messages to Wilson’s facebook page about the meeting and gathered outside to console each other and discuss the commissioner’s actions. ’We’re very pleased that they’re going to fix the bridge,” said his cousin Renee Ard. Collins also asked about procedures for naming bridges since the family had requested it be named after him. ”We need to establish a criteria for naming bridges,” he said. “We have a request to name a bridge and we have no criteria that sets forth what’s needed for that process.” He was contacted by a member of the Buffington family who said it would be a great idea to name the bridge. Commissioners voted unanimously to authorize the county attorney, road superintendent and planning and zoning director to present criteria for naming bridges, roads and buildings at the next meeting.

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