Supervisors hear road complaints, infrastructure updates

Published 1:13 pm Tuesday, September 5, 2023

BROOKHAVEN — A gallery of District 5 residents murmured in the background as a few spokespeople voiced concerns about road conditions. Susie Smith, who lives on St. Paul Drive, complained the dust from the road was making her asthma worse as she did at the last Lincoln County Board of Supervisors meeting in August.  

Lincoln County Supervisors met Tuesday in a regularly scheduled meeting. The board typically meets on the first and third Monday of each month but due to Labor Day the meeting was moved to Tuesday. 

The common complaints from the group of citizens is Falvey only paves roads in “white neighborhoods,” and paved dead end roads first instead of their roads which connect to others. Falvey responded by saying the issue is not a racial one because none of the roads are white or black. He said they recently finished a paving project on James Drive, whose residents are 95 percent black, and the project was on a planning board for three years prior. 

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District 4 Supervisor Eddie Brown said he understands the complaints but the people on the roads recently paved wanted their road’s paved too and pay taxes in the county. 

Stacy Fields Sr. said he knows Falvey can’t fix all of the roads in a year but wanted to know why it has taken Falvey so long to get to other roads such as Fern Lane and Bluebird. Fields Sr.’s son Stacy Fields Jr. told Falvey the problem was he lacked initiative. Falvey responded by saying he has tried to fix roads every year. 

“I’ve spent three months fixing Fern,” Falvey said. “My goal is to finish the foundation so I can come back and finish the overlay. We dug out the asphalt. It is the problem. You have to dig it out and get a good foundation. It is not easy or a quick fix. It is a slow process and costly.” 

He said a section of St. Paul Drive had to be turned into gravel because they were unable to pave it due to lack of funding. Some of the roads in the county do not have a gravel foundation and deteriorate quicker so he is going along and fixing what he can by starting with the foundation. 

No one from the gallery of disgruntled residents stayed for County Engineer Ryan Holmes to give a report on projects. Holmes said they would start advertising bids for the Auburn Road Bridge project next week and hope to award the bid in October. 

He told the board that AAA and Dickerson and Bowen were working on paving projects this week as they work around the districts. Supervisors voted next to approve a project by C-Spire to lay cable on Progress Trail from Jackson Liberty Road. 

Truck route enforcement 

Brown shared a report about logging damages to roads in his district as Holmes agreed it was an issue. Holmes explained the truck routes are designed so drivers can use roads engineered to bear the weight of the trucks and get them to the highway as quickly as possible. 

Steve Rushing told the board they really need to hire a road enforcement officer who can weigh the trucks with scales. Some of the residents present at the meeting had complained about semi trucks being on roads they were not supposed to be on. 

“The missing piece we have is enforcement. We have to get scales and enforce those routes,” Holmes said. “We have discussed it now for several years.” 

No action was taken on hiring a road enforcement officer. 

Reaching a compromise

One Lincoln County resident worked out a deal with supervisor Falvey Tuesday. Larry Brown says he lives on Zetus Road and has a pasture on Fern Lane where he had questions about the County’s responsibility for ditch cleanup. 

District 3 Supervisor Nolan Williamson said the responsibility for ditch cleanup on the County is from the back of the ditch on each side of the road. Brown asked if he could pile up debris in the ditch from cleaning up a fence row along the ditch. Falvey told him he could and he would pick it up.