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Resurfacing of Zierdt Road proposed at City Council meeting

Councilman Jerry Jennings offered a proposal at Monday’s City Council meeting to resurface Zierdt Road.

“Zierdt has probably more than 20,000 vehicles every day,” Jennings said. “The road is deteriorating.”

He said because of environmental issues, the ultimate reconfiguration of Zierdt is probably at least two years away.

“About two and half years ago, there was patching done that Huntsville performed,” Jennings said. “That patching really hasn’t held up. For us to go ahead and repave the entire lengths of Zierdt from Madison Boulevard to the city line is $122,000 for both sides.”

He said the cost would not exceed $125,000.

The money will be coming from a municipal government capital improvement fund. Four-hundred and fifty thousand dollars of that fund is not appropriated.

“The level of complaints is escalating,” Jennings said.

Mayor Paul Finley suggested they wait two weeks to discuss the potential resurfacing further, and the council agreed.

Later in the meeting, the project superintendent for the new Target shopping center off Highway 72 asked for a variance from the City Council to start pouring at 1 a.m. and end at noon. He said they are neighborhood-friendly so if they don’t get a variance they’re not going to do it.

This is to help avoid the extreme heat temperatures in the afternoons. With hot weather, he said there can be cracking and flaking.

All the lights for the project will be facing north, except one that will be facing west.

City attorney Kelly Butler said there’s nothing to have a variance for since nothing has been decided by the council.

Councilman Tommy Overcash said it’s probably a given that it will violate the noise ordinance.

The council reached a consensus to allow them to pour concrete from 1 a.m. to noon over the course of six days, which would only include five actual days of pouring. Councilman Steve Haraway objected to the consensus as he said there would be many phone calls with complaints.

Jennings requested that the city attorney look into rewriting the noise ordinance.

In other business, Rusty Russell of the Emergency Management Agency of Huntsville-Madison County gave a presentation on the recent tornados.

 “April 25 and 26, we started getting warnings and getting the word out,” Russell explained. “We had reasonable level of confidence that it was going to be a severe day.”

He said people are turning their weather radios off, and therefore aren’t getting the information they need. Russell discussed all the problems people faced throughout that time—from cell phones getting spotty coverage to the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of food lost.

He said it’s going to take a year or more to get that debris cleared up

“Statewide damage is about 4.2 billion dollars,” Russell said. “That’s worse than Hurricane Ivan by about threefold.”

Mayor Paul Finley said EMA did a phenomenal job and that their leadership was greatly appreciated. He did, however, ask if weather sirens could be split up by going off in the north, south, east and west areas of the county.

“Public warning is one of our biggest problems,” Russell said, and he continued by saying it’s something they are working on addressing.

Jennings asked Finley about when trash collection would catch up, as that has been an issue since the tornados swept through the area.

“The hardest-hit parts of Madison were the Monday and Tuesday routes,” Finley said. “By the end of the week, it’s either work the weekend or catch back up. I will commend most of our trash collection crew, because they have done a yeoman’s job over the past two or three months.”

Nansi Clark, Finley’s executive assistant, offered an update on directional signage for things such as parks and attractions. She said they are currently securing funding for temporary signage for downtown, which will cost about $9,000. They will look to get permanent signage through a tourism grant.

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