County’s 53 dirt miles perplex officials
For a place considered part of metropolitan Atlanta, Fayette County has a good many unpaved dirt and gravel roads lingering around.
Some 53 miles of those roads are maintained by the county’s road department, and the county has $1.8 million squirreled away to pave some of them.
But that money may not be enough to pave a road, as the county commission expressed sentiment Wednesday that residents who want their dirt road paved should donate their right of way.
In quite a few cases over the years, several landowners have refused to donate right of way because they want the road to stay as it is, explained County Public Works Director Phil Mallon.
“You talk to one neighbor and they say yes. You talk to another neighbor and they say no,” Mallon said.
In addition to scraping of dirt roads, the county also treats gravel roads with substances to tamp down dust and stabilize the soil to provide resistance from damaged caused by vehicle tires and rains, Mallon said.
“We’ve had a few people say, ‘You keep this up. We don’t want our road paved,” Mallon explained.
Mallon suggested that county road crews almost always have to go do work on Sims Road after each rainstorm because parts of the road wash out. For that reason it would be beneficial to pave that road, he noted.
He added that there also might be a benefit for the county to pave Quarters Road, for example, as it is a significant “cut-through” road. But as county Commissioner and former Public Works Director Lee Hearn noted, it would take a significant amount of right of way.
“I don’t want to have to go in and condemn right of way,” Hearn said. He suggested the county take its highest priority roads and ask residents if they were willing to donate the necessary right of way.
The county needs a minimum 60-foot-wide right of way to pave any of the roads. Hearn said he measured Quarters Road at one point between two trees where there was only 15 feet of land available for the road.
Commissioner Jack Smith said if the county’s effort to pave some of the most critical roads is unsuccessful, he would support reallocating the $1.8 million set aside for paving dirt and gravel roads to other projects.
The county is in the midst of paving a dirt road, Snead Road in south Fayette County, which runs between Old Greenville Road and Woolsey-Brooks Road.