Crawford residents worried about ‘dangerous’ dirt road
The county manager says the road work could get expensive and it’s hard to complete a project with money they don’t have.
Perhaps there isn’t a better example of how slippery Howard Road can get then on a rainy morning. The mud starts to pile up, making driving a challenge for Terry Howard and anyone else who lives on the two mile stretch of dirt.
“This is self explanatory. If you ride down here and look at this, then I don’t have to tell you anything,” Howard said.
It’s a task Howard says is a problem and he’s ready for a fix. County manager Pat Kelly is well aware of the issue, he says Howard Road is one of many with similar conditions.
“We’ve got 111 miles of dirt roads and we have limited funds to address not only dirt roads, but maintain the paved roads,” Kelly said.
The county spends around $2 million on road repairs and maintenance. Kelly says there isn’t a lot of wiggle room to pave the dirt roads. He estimates doing so would bill the county somewhere near $10 million.
“Not to mention you still have got to somehow maintain the 230 miles of paved roads that are already in existence with $400,000. The math is difficult and you have to make hard decisions,” Kelly said.
He says despite the problem, there might be a solution — getting Howard Road onto a prioritization list for the county.
“We score them based on how many homes are on them, how many churches, how many businesses, how is the road already, what kind of condition is it presently in,” Kelly said.
He points out Howard Road ranks low in all of those categories. Even then, there’s a wait list.
“It’s a constant, changing, moving target just based on the needs that year. But the roads that get passed over do get a second look the following year, and they might be passed over again,” Kelly said.
Howard is hopeful and hopes a change happens soon.
“Something’s got to be done and it has to start at that point,” Howard said.
Kelly says at the end of the day it’s up commissioners to decide which roads are maintained annually. He adds if Howard Road makes it onto the priority list. It will stay there until it’s paved.