Repairing potholes stretches budgets, county work crews

Patricia Smith lives on a road covered with potholes, divots and ditches. McCall Creek Road and Echo Lane in the county have caused dented rims and shear aggravation for drivers.

“We need to do something so we don’t damage our vehicles,” said Smith. She added that they have had to have repairs done to cars and the road conditions have almost caused her daughter to wreck.

Smith has contacted her district supervisor several times attempting to get the bumbling roads fixed, but has had no success. She said she is to the point of having a petition signed by other citizens who are also disgruntled with the lack of District 5 Supervisor Dudley Nations’s response.

“If he doesn’t start doing something, what else can we do,” said Patricia Smith.

Currently, each supervisor is responsible for deciding which roads should be repaved. There are approximately 230 miles of road per district, and supervisors attempt to balance the need with cost for the project. Nations has not considered Patricia Smith’s roads a high priority in the district.

“We are going to get to it as soon as possible,” said Nations. “I can’t put a time frame on it because it requires foundation work and regraveling before anything can be done. It is not a highly traveled road.”

Eddie Brown, president of the Board of Supervisors and District 4 supervisor, explained that revenue for road upkeep is not great and there are multiple projects that need to be done. He added on top of the long list, every time it rains, more problems are created.

“We don’t want anyone to feel shunned, but we have to look at the whole picture,” said Brown. “We are doing everything we can to keep our districts happy and we will continue as long as we’re in office.”

The county crews are currently busy bush hogging, which is a yearly maintenance issue. There are roughly six to seven men on most county crews. Brown said the crews are stretched thin, but if they hired more workers, it would eat too much into the operating fund, resulting in no money for the actual pavement.

Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon situation. According to the American Society of Engineers, 51 percent of Mississippi’s roads are in poor or mediocre condition, costing motorists $811 million a year in extra vehicle repair and operating costs; roughly $419 per motorist. The report also found that 2,417 bridges are structurally deficient and 1,357 are considered functionally obsolete.