Residents say Co. Road 349 needs attention

Published 9:38 pm Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Two Dallas County residents expressed concern about the condition of County Road 349 at the Dallas County Commission meeting Monday.

“Our road is in really bad shape,” said Brenda Hatcher, who lives on County Road 349 along with several other residents. “We really need some help out here.”

Hatcher said whenever it rains the road becomes difficult to navigate, leaving its residents in danger and unable to leave their homes safely.

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“We also have a couple of neighbors that were afraid to come out today because they thought maybe if they came out, they wouldn’t be able to return to their home if there was bad weather,” she said.

County Road 349 resident Adolph Goldsby also discussed the road’s issues with the commission and said conditions have been bad on the road for at least 50 years.

“For all those who don’t know what’s going on down on County Road 349, all they have to do is come down and look,” Goldsby said. “We need to get these roads and bridges fixed so we can get people some jobs down here because right now we have 13 residents living on County Road 349.”

Goldsby also said two churches are located on the two and a half mile stretch of road and residents need to be able to safely access the road on Sundays.

“We hope when you get money from the state that you use a portion of that to help us out,” Goldsby said to the commission.

Probate Judge Kim Ballard said the commission has recognized these issues and they are doing everything they can to repair County Road 349 and make it safer for its residents.

However, Ballard said, state and federal budgets are tight at the moment and it may be some time before County Road 349 can be fully addressed.

“Funds being what they are on a federal and state level and county level, we do not have the available funds to pave the road right now,” Ballard said. “We will do whatever it takes from an upkeep and remediation standpoint to make it at least usable though.”

In comparison to other counties with similar economic status, Ballard said Dallas County has a low number of dirt roads and the commission hopes to pave more in the next year.

“We wish we could pave it sooner,” Ballard said of County Road 349. “Over the years the commissioners and I have paved probably several hundreds of miles of dirt roads, but we still have a lot of bad dirt roads in the county.”