Residents in uproar over road ‘repairs’

Published 11:05 pm Saturday, September 5, 2009

ROME TOWNSHIP — Dave Gillilan had an experience Thursday most people don’t have — one that has left him fuming, right long with his neighbors.

“I went to work on a perfectly good blacktop road and when I came home that afternoon, I came home on a gravel road,” Gillilan said.

He lives on County Road 107, the road that used to be State Route 7 before the Chesapeake Bypass was completed and became State Route 7.

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The Lawrence County Engineer’s Office Thursday began chip-and-sealing a 3-mile portion of the roadway that stretches between the Lawrence County Fairgrounds and Fairland East Elementary. People living along the road say it did not need to be chip-and-sealed.

They say they had a perfectly good paved road with a good layer of asphalt. Now they have tar and gravel on top of blacktop, some windshields broken by flying gravel and dust everywhere.

Efforts to contact Lawrence County Engineer David Lynd to seek his comments on the situation were unsuccessful.

“The road was not in that bad a shape,” Rome Township trustee Mark Bailey said. “They went over it this spring. The people here are upset.”

Bailey said he has received numerous telephone calls from angry residents even though by law, he and fellow trustees have absolutely no authority over a county road and an elected county official’s decision to chip-and-seal it.

Bailey said he heard the county commissioners have gotten numerous telephone calls as well, even though they also have no jurisdiction over the roads.

Lynd is an elected official and gets very little of his budget from the county general fund. His budget comes from the state gasoline tax and license plate fees.

“The road is heavily traveled,” Bailey said. “The residents feel like it should be paved.”

Rick Eplion, who lives on County Road 107, was more emphatic.

“This is the most redundant thing I have ever seen in my life,” he said. “It is so silly you can’t help but think there has to be other reasons behind it.”

Eplion said he called the engineer’s office and spoke to an employee who said Lynd was out of the office. Eplion said he was told the chip-and-seal was a form of road repair.

He begged to differ. He said there is no reason to put tar and gravel on an asphalt road that is heavily traveled and in good repair.

“This is the most asinine thing I have ever seen in my life,” he said. “It’s totally unbelievable.”

Eplion, who owns a paving company, said if the county will purchase the asphalt, he will truck it and lay it on the part of the road that as been chip-and-sealed. He said some residents plan to “wage war” to get the road work stopped.