Residents complain about Gravel Hill dirt road conditions

Published 6:14 pm Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Two citizens from South Gravel Hill Road came before the Crenshaw County Commission Monday evening to voice their concerns over the poor condition of their road.

Resident Herman Pierce said that water was running across his driveway, along with several other problems with the ditches and scraping along his road.

“They don’t scrape dirt roads and leave the ditches full of sand and dirt in Butler County,” Pierce said. “Why do we have to do it here?”

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Resident Janice Phelps, who also lives on South Gravel Hill Road, had similar complaints.

“We spent $1,000 to fix our daughter’s driveway and lot, and the county messed it up,” she said. “They scraped it down, and now it’s a bank and a rut.”

Commissioner Charlie Sankey said that there had been some personnel changes made in the highway department recently, and that residents should begin to see some positive changes.

“We had 15 people in here from District 5 at our last meeting for the same thing,” Sankey said. “This problem is county-wide; it’s not just in your area.”

Sankey also explained that the heavy rains over the last couple of months had “exposed some problems we didn’t know were there.”

“But, when you start naming six or seven roads in the same area, then something is wrong,” Sankey said.

County engineer Benjie Sanders, who was not present at Monday’s meeting, agreed with Sankey about the amount of rain the county had received recently and the problems it has caused.

“With all the rain we’ve had this spring, we’ve gotten behind with some of our maintenance and ditching on our dirt roads,” Sanders said. “Some of the roads are just now getting dry enough to do ditching and opening up of pipes–we’re in the process of getting around to doing this work now.”

Sanders also said that the highway department had several things going on at the present.

“We’re right in the middle of big EWP projects, and we’ve had to put in building pads for at least 7 new storm shelter sites,” Sanders said. “Now, we’ll soon have to tear down the old Honoraville senior center and build a pad and parking lot there for the new senior center. I know these things take time away from road maintenance, but we’ve just got a lot going on.”

Commissioner Sankey agreed that too much might be on the highway department’s plate.

“I said this last time and I’ll say it again—we’ve got to alleviate some of the projects the highway department has right now and get them back on the dirt roads,” Sankey said. “This Commission has been lax in helping Benjie (Sanders) in coming up with a plan to get these ditches and roads back in shape.”