9-1-1 Addressing Update in Carter, Ripley and Wayne Counties
Carter, Ripley and Wayne Counties, together with the Ozark Foothills Regional Planning Commission and the Delta Regional Authority, are close to completing an Enhanced 9-1-1/Rural Addressing project necessary to bring 9-1-1 emergency calling service to the residents and businesses in the three rural counties.
Before a 911 system can be implemented, all residences and businesses must be assigned physical addresses. A physical address consists of a structure number and a road name or number, such as 101 N Main St, or 1234 County Road 202. The post office currently delivers mail in the rural areas to rural route addresses. Rural Route addresses locate mail boxes, not individual homes or businesses, and cannot be used by 911. Through the current effort, Rural Route addresses (such as RT 3 BOX 201 or HC 75 BOX 4341) are being converted to physical addresses for mail delivery.
In the fall of 2017, Spatial Data Research, Inc. (SDR) was contracted for the mapping and addressing phase of the project. Carter, Ripley and Wayne came together and launched the project soon after. Field data collection started in October 2017 and has since been completed as scheduled. Through the process, SDR drove every road in all three counties—beginning with Wayne County—and used Global Positioning System (GPS) to map the location of roads, addressable structures and landmarks such as water towers, cemeteries and fire hydrants.
House numbers were determined and assigned by the structure’s distance from the beginning of the road to the driveway entrance, with even numbered homes on one side of the road and odd on the other. For example, a house found one mile from the beginning of County Road 101 was assigned an address of 1000 County Road 101. The existing county road numbers were used and some private lanes were assigned new numbers.
Residents who use post office boxes for mail delivery will continue to use their post office boxes for mail delivery. However, these residents will receive a physical address for their structure for 9-1-1 emergency calling and response purposes. This address can be used for other deliveries as well such as UPS and FedEX.
As the addressing was completed in each county, the new addresses were forwarded to the United States Postal Service by delivery route for validation and entry into the postal system. Once each postal route was approved by the USPS, residents received a letter from their county with their new address. The notification letter and attached Frequently Asked Questions explains how the addresses were assigned, when residents can begin using their new address, and how to label each residence and mailbox. Notification began in Wayne County and is continuing today in Carter and Ripley Counties. If a resident or business owner has not received a letter from their county informing them of their new 911 address by the end of the summer, they should contact the Ozark Foothills Regional Planning Commission at (573) 785-6402.
The USPS will accept both the old rural address and the new 9-1-1 address for mail delivery for one year from the date of the change of address. After one year, ALL residents and businesses must use the new 9-1-1 address for mail.
“Carter, Ripley and Wayne Counties are working very well together to see this project completed,” said Executive Director Felicity Ray of the Ozark Foothills Regional Planning Commission. “In fact, the group has already received a second grant award to install new county roadway signs within the three-county area. Furthermore, we are continuing our grant funding search to purchase the expensive technological equipment necessary to install a fully functional E-911 system for all three counties,” she said. Thoughts as to how the system will operate have yet to be determined.
The new E-911 system will, however, be able to locate not only landline callers, but also cellular callers using the embedded GPS coordinates of their phone. The current 911 addressing project is one of the largest and most costly components of creating an Enhanced 911 system. The Delta Regional Authority funded the project in full, with facilitation and coordination provided by the Ozark Foothills Regional Planning Commission. “The timing was right when we applied for the grant funding in 2016,” stated Ray. “Our region was very fortunate to receive funding for the addressing component. Our counties certainly could not have funded this part of the initiative on their own.”
The Ozark Foothills Regional Planning Commission will maintain the newly created address database and assign all new addresses moving forward. New residents and business owners with Carter, Ripley, and Wayne Counties are encouraged to call (573) 785-6402 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain their 911 address. They may also complete a New Address Request form online at www.ofrpc.org. Requestors should follow the completion and submission instructions on the form.
The Delta Regional Authority headquartered in Clarksdale, Mississippi funded the effort. “It is difficult to imagine that we still have portions of the United States not covered by 9-1-1 service,” said Ray. “Of the 114 counties in Missouri, Carter, Ripley, and Wayne Counties are three of only a handful in the entire country without the life-saving service.” The Delta Regional Authority was established by Congress in 2000 to improve the quality of life in the Mississippi River Delta. For more information about the Authority, its initiatives, and funding programs, visit dra.gov.