CHILTON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) – In a CBS 42 report last month, it was revealed that there had been a land dispute surrounding gates blocking a road.

The dispute arose because there was confusion over whether the road was private or if it belonged to the county.

Since the report, Chilton County leaders have taken steps to help clarify county road jurisdiction through the County Information Management System (CIMS), a central hub for all county road information.

Right now, the road department is running a motor grader across County Road 733 to rebuild it from the ground up. Simultaneously, county employee Susan Harrison can keep track of the progress from her office at the road department.

“We never had a report,” Harrison said. “This will be good.”

For years, Harrison kept track of road work by hand or in Excel spreadsheets, but pinpointing specific roads or issues and how often work was completed got tough.

“I’d have to go through every day and mark it down and mark the dates,” Harrison said. “(CIMS) shows you all the equipment and the people that have been working on it (for) how many hours.”

The Chilton County Commission approved purchasing the software in mid-April. Now, all the information Harrison needs is at her fingertips.

“Now we know whether or not [roadwork has] been completed,” Harrison said. “We can pull up a report showing it was completed (and) what date it was completed.”

County engineer Heath Sexton pushed for the technology at Chilton County Commission meetings earlier this year.

“It’s a great tool I think it’s going to greatly assist us with our maintenance of our roads and providing better service to the public,” Sexton said. “We want to make sure the citizens feel like when they call in that we don’t forget their request. This will ensure them that we get it. We will have it logged and we will have some kind of report on it where it was completed at some point.”

Sexton said CIMS helps them track work orders, project construction costs and maintain roads. This is something they did not have when a property owner built these gates blocking access to County Road 161.

“This will give us not only a paper trail but also electronic reports that we can quickly see,” Sexton said. “This tool is going to be money well spent. It will help us to provide better service.”

According to Sexton, there are more than 680 publicly owned roads and over 260 privately owned roads in Chilton County.

CIMS costs the county $700 a month, according to Sexton, and is the best way to assess costs quickly and submit them for reimbursement to either FEMA or grants for road improvement projects.

Chilton County joins about 40 other counties in using CIMS or similar software to maintain roads.