Roads crucial to county infrastructure (This is the first in a series of stories probing the issues of infrastructure in Bolivar County and Mississippi.) By Paisley Boston BC Staff Writer There is a great deal of planning required to make roads and bridges safe for driving, water healthy for drinking and power available to all. To explore these and other issues May 12–16 has been designated as Infrastructure Week, studying emerging solutions, innovative approaches and best practices being developed nationwide to modernize aging infrastructure. Infrastructure Week is led by the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO, the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, Building America’s Future, 1776, the Organization for International Investment, the Value of Water Coalition, and the National Association of Manufacturers. These groups bring unique and powerful perspectives to the ongoing dialogue about the deteriorating condition of our nation’s infrastructure. Bolivar County Engineer Bob Eley said the county has been working for years to improve road, bridge and sewer infrastructure. "The county recently built a wastewater collection system for three subdivisions, plus conducted a road reseal project, the Davis Street Project in Mound Bayou, and the Pearman Road Storm drainage project. All of these projects were Bolivar County Board of Supervisor projects," said Eley. Although the county has been engaged in improving infrastructure, Eley said the most urgent infrastructure matter within the county government is road conditions. "Adequate funding for road improvement is greatly needed for both the state aid road system and for the local road system or transportation improvements in general," he added. "The county has an impact on the agricultural industry. Agriculture is affected by the lack of adequate roads in the county. I do feel that the county has managed to focus enough resources in industrial areas," continued Eley. He said Bolivar County has a pretty good infrastructure but the conditions of roads in rural areas are in need of repair. Bolivar County Road Manager James Pritchett believes road conditions are a very serious matter. "Roads are the most prevalent infrastructure matters within the county. We have been filling in potholes and we plan to begin major road repair over the next few days, if it does not rain," said Pritchett. "Rain can definitely be a factor when trying to do road repair. Any time it rains during the working season, it causes us to have a delay in road repair. We can't patch holes that have water in them," he added. Pritchett said although rain can cause a delay in roadwork, it does not hinder beaver dam removal. "Usually when it rains, we try to combat the issue of beaver dams. We remove beaver dams out of ditches because they can cause huge drainage problems which could possibly lead to other infrastructure problems," he said. "We also have an individual that comes in and traps the beavers before we remove the dams. We usually find the most beaver dams in drainage ditches near Shelby and Mound Bayou. There are also a few near Shaw," added Pritchett. Eley said the county recently received funds to repair a bridge near Hushpuckena.