The Roane County Commission approved borrowing up to $10 million to repair county roads at their meeting last night. It may end up costing taxpayers eight cents on the dollar down the road to help pay back the money from the lender.
County Executive Ron Woody told commissioners before the vote the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency would refund some of the cost to repair several roads that had been shut down or damaged since the February flooding, but it could take over a year to get the money back; and the interest alone would cost the county about $250,000.
Roane County Road Superintendent Dennis Ferguson and Deputy Road Commissioner Tony Brown explained to the commissioners how much damage has been estimated on some of Roane County’s major roads. Ferguson said estimates are in at around $8 million on what has been already damaged, especially on Riggs Chapel and Airport Road. He said those two roads will take a lot to repair, but getting them reopened is a priority.
Several residents, especially those who have to take detours to town because Riggs Chapel and Airport roads are closed, expressed displeasure at the closures, but officials said there is no other option for the safety of those who may travel the roads.