Dozens turn out to address commission on road condition

Published 10:19 pm Monday, March 23, 2015

The Dallas County Commission had a full house Monday afternoon for its meeting, as more than 40 residents that live on or off of County Road 17 showed up to voice their concerns about having the road repaved.

Jan Justice, who lives on County Road 17, presented a list of concerns to the commission to show them how badly their road needs to be repaired.

“Potholes are one thing, but [the road] is just very uneven because it’s been patched so much,” Justice said. “The roadbed is cracked and big chunks of asphalt are coming out of the road. It is just totally deteriorated.”

Email newsletter signup

According to Justice, County Road 17, which is in Commissioner Larry Nickles’ district, was first paved in 1974 and has only been patched up since then.

Justice said the road, which is home to about 130 households, has been patched more times than she can remember, and it is time for the road to be repaved.

Commissioners sympathized with the County Road 17 residents in attendance, but the commission said there isn’t much that can be done right now due to a lack of funding.

County Road 17 doesn’t qualify for state funding because it is a dead-end road, so if repairs are done, the commission will have to use money from the general fund to repair it.

“The funding is just not there. We realize the concerns, but there are quite a few roads in Dallas County that are in the same shape,” Nickles said. “If the funds are available we try to do what we can, but they (the state) tell us which road they will or won’t fund.”

Commission Chairman Kim Ballard told residents that if the road is repaired, it will have to be done in phases.

“If we paved the whole road, we are talking about a million-dollar project. It is just not something we can snap our fingers and do,” Ballard said.

“We’re going to get it done. There are probably roads in Dallas County that are just as bad if not worse as [County Road 17,] but there is probably not a road in Dallas County as bad as that road that’s got as many people that live on it.”

While money is a big concern, what’s tearing up the road is an even bigger concern.

Ballard said there is no point in repaving the road without solving the problem that is causing it, which is traffic from Asphalt Contractors carrying heavy loads of concrete.

“The biggest obstacle we’ve got is what’s tearing the road up, which are the big, heavy vehicles from Asphalt Contractors, gravel trucks and log trucks,” Ballard said. “I don’t think it makes sense at all to pave anything until we lower the weight limit.”

Ballard said he is going to propose a lower weight limit on the road, which will keep the asphalt and gravel trucks from overloading their trucks and causing damage to the road.

While residents didn’t hear the news they wanted to, they might be one step closer to getting a safer road to drive on.

“This is a never ending challenge given the condition that [the road] is in. It’s the same rhetoric that we’ve heard for the last 10 years, but I do think we got their attention,” Justice said.