Citizens address county roads

Published 10:43 pm Monday, January 25, 2010

Road problems are nothing new to Chilton County residents, but recent weather has created a critical situation for many who live on dirt roads. Several voiced their concerns at Monday night’s Chilton County Commission meeting.

“It’s nothing but a big mud hole right now,” Kevin Cain said about a portion of County Road 173.

Cain said he had to scrape mud out of the road and help two vehicles out of a ditch. Also, people have missed work due to the poor condition of the road.

“My wife’s handicapped. When the road’s like that, I can’t get in and out to get her medicine,” said County Road 449 resident Gary Gurton, complaining about runoff from the nearby industrial park currently under construction.

“My son just built a new home up there. He can’t get to the house,” added 449 resident Marcellus Tyus.

“I almost skidded right into a big truck (on Alabama Highway 155) and that’s what brought me here,” said County Road 126 resident Jessie Finley, adding that she was not speeding at the time.

Other roads addressed were 542, 187, 59 and 85.

Also, a bridge had washed out on County Road 454, separating a local business owner from his customers.

Each resident told pretty much the same story — excess material blocking ditches, water running over the road, and material placed by county crews sinking into the muck within minutes of the work being done.

County Engineer Tony Wearren said he was all too familiar with the problem.

“All of our ditches are full, even on paved roads right now,” he said, explaining that the task of working all the county’s roads is a massive undertaking.

Wearren added that roads in North Chilton County are not holding up as well as those in southern areas, which are made of a sandier material. As a result, material is disappearing as quickly as it can be replaced.

One resident called it a “waste” and suggested the county make more of an effort to pave roads.

Commissioner Bobby Agee said until the county can get a sizeable portion of funding, such as revenue from a 1-cent sales tax increase, little can be done.

“We don’t have the money to do what needs to be done,” Agee said.

Commissioner Allen Caton estimated it would cost $50 million to pave all the county’s dirt roads, not including bridge repair. The county budget is currently only $15 million, he said.

Wearren took notes of each complaint and the names of residents who attended the meeting.

In other business, the commission:

Voted to give $500 to Chilton Leadership for the printing of brochures to promote Minooka Park

Declared three FEMA trailers surplus at the request of Sheriff Kevin Davis

Voted to allow Commission chairman Tim Mims to serve on the E-911 Board in place of Joe Headley, who is rotating off.