Symmes Valley residents upset over roads

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 9, 2008

Symmes Township resident Scott Dillon had a proposition for Lawrence County Commissioner Tanner Heaberlin Thursday.

“Come bring your vehicle, your personal vehicle— not a county one, and take it up our roads,” Dillon invited.

Dillon, who lives on County Road 14, was not picking on Heaberlin, but as the newcomer to commission, Dillon thought Heaberlin may have been unaware of a problem he said has plagued Symmes residents for years: bad roads. He and a half a dozen other Symmes residents attended Thursday’s commission meeting to complain about huge potholes, ruts, lack of drainage and other road woes they said makes traveling difficult and at times impossible. They have complained about it before and previously invited the other commissioners to bring their personal vehicles for a tour of their problem areas.

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Dillon called the conditions on his road and County Road 47 “deplorable.” He said recently, a fire truck got stuck in ruts on a road and sat helpless while the house burned.

“It’s pretty bad when you can get a fire truck stuck,” he said.

He said he and other residents have gotten little feedback from the office of Lawrence County Engineer David Lynd and that’s why they asked the county to intervene.

Residents said they had fewer road problems when those roads were simply graveled and not chip-and-sealed. They told the commissioners when the roads were graveled, they were often graded, eliminating ruts and potholes.

Ray and Marie Farris, who live on County Road 47, said they had the engineer’s office to install a drainage pipe to keep water from backing up onto their property. Ray Farris said he has gotten promises from the engineer’s office but so far, no drainage ditch or tile.

“They said ‘You buy the pipe and we’ll put it in,’” Ray Farris told the commission. “They need to come out there and do it and quit giving me promises.”

The commissioners said they would send a letter to the engineer’s office, asking Lynd to consider the residents’ requests.

Lynd said Friday those roads are on the list to be chip-and-sealed. He said he understands people become frustrated with the condition of their roads but his office only has so much money in its budget. He said in order to pave or resurface all the county’s roads, it would take a multi-million-dollar long term plan.

“Its not a matter of not wanting to, it’s a matter of how to pay for it,” Lynd said.