County to revisit bridge-naming requirements

By Megan R. Harrell

Star Staff

   Throughout Carter County signs have been erected on bridges in memorial to citizens who have made significant contributions to the community. The process of how those bridges are named has recently come under review by the Carter County highway committee.
   During a scheduled meeting yesterday afternoon, members of the committee voted to reconsider requirements for naming bridges in the county. The issue of naming bridges surfaced when the committee was presented with a petition to name a county bridge on Estep Hollow Rd.
   While discussing the petition, committee members agreed on the need to develop a system of regulating the naming of bridges in the county. Commissioner Robert Davis voiced concern about the county's lack of a systematic approach to assigning names to bridges.
   "Anybody can sign a petition and have a bridge named after anyone," Davis said. "We need to have up a committee that can come up with set rules and regulations. It is going to take some research to do it, but we have to have some kind rules that set forth what you can do and what you cannot do. Right now we do not have that."
   County Executive, Dale Fair also noted the impracticality of not having set standards for naming bridges. He believes problems may arise in the future if the issue is not dealt with.
   "Once you open this door, eventually you can see going up a street and every quarter mile you could have a new name. Where do you close the door," Fair said. "It is better that we come up with something or re-intact what we may already have on the books, before our door gets open completely."
   Some tenured committee members recalled developing standards for naming bridges in the past, but no documented regulations concerning the issue have been found. With no standards on hand, the committee voted to schedule a public hearing during January's full county commission meeting to settle the petition currently in front of them.
   At the suggestion of Chairman, Jerry Pearman the committee appointed a four-man sub committee to research possible rules and regulations for naming county bridges in the future. The subcommittee was asked to give further insight into the issue during the next committee meeting.
   The Carter County Highway Committee also discussed some problematic road conditions that may need immediate attention. After the meeting, committee members traveled the Milligan community to look into the need for guardrails and road repairs.
   The committee also discussed drainage problems on Siam Road. Committee member, Chuck Culler stated that water from the highway runs across the road and causes dangerous driving conditions. He said it becomes very slippery in cold weather when the water begins to freeze.