An accurate census will help smooth roads—literally

Published 1:23 pm Friday, March 12, 2010

As the population of Shelby County increases, so does the traffic. More cars mean more wear and tear on the roads as well as a bigger job for the county’s highway department. An accurate census count will help keep the county’s roads in top condition, said County Engineer Randy Cole.

“Gas tax monies in the state are based partially on the census count, and gas tax funding is our primary source of funding,” said Cole.

“Shelby County is a growing county,” he continued. “We anticipate receiving more funds based on the census population.”

But that money might not make its way to the department for another couple of years after the census is over, Cole estimated. “It’s typically two years after the census is conducted before all of the data is assimilated. At that point the distribution formulas would be adjusted,” he said.

The county Highway Department is responsible for “everything related to roads,” said Cole. That includes road repair, bridge design and development, annual paving and resurfacing, widening roads and managing intersections.

“It’s critical that the count be as accurate as possible since we are a growing county. That will increase our share of the distribution,” said Cole.

Complete the census now to improve the roads of the future. For more information about the Highway Department, visit