Another week of this rain, and we won’t have a road left in front of our house. I’d say it was one big pothole but it’s more like the craters of the moon and if the craters get much deeper we may need a rock crawler or a moon rover. I don’t think there is any way to improve it as long as the rain is coming down, which it seems to do every day.
Now, this particular road is dirt and it runs very slightly down hill. We don’t have a ditch on either side. Probably, when it was built, it was plenty wide for two ditches and two autos, but that was long before one ton pickups and duelys became popular. Granted, the autos back then probably outweighed the ones out there now, but they weren’t nearly as wide, nor did they have side mirrors that stuck out three feet. So, the ditches have disappeared and the road has widened.
Also, there are huge rocks that graders push out of the roadbed. My dad said that when Tom McCaslin was commissioner, probably 65 years ago, he hauled in rocks and dirt and gravel and built the roadbed up, leaving said ditches on the sides. I’m pretty sure that 90% of what was hauled in has now filled up the ditches; every time it is graded, big rocks come out, leaving large holes in the road and large rocks along the edges. It doesn’t look too bad right after it’s graded, but with rain any loose dirt goes south, uh, west.
Of course, Piney is pretty much Flint Rock City anyway, and don’t let anybody tell you that diamonds are the hardest substance known to man. They’ve got nothing on flint rocks, I would know. I’ve spent a lifetime falling on them, and I’ve got the scars to prove it.
On the other hand, while this road is rough, I wouldn’t say it is the most dangerous road in the area. After the freezes last winter, I guess the moisture got into the fissures in the blacktop and they began crumbling. There are some really bad holes about two miles from here toward Stilwell and between here and Westville, there are potholes by the dozen. There are also loose chunks of blacktop, and if you go, as I did last week, by way of Union Hill, the road is even worse. There are large chunks of broken pavement on both sides of the road, and while one lane or the other is somewhat passable, most of the time, since the trees have leafed out, visibility is extremely limited especially in the hilly areas. So, it’s not safe to pull around the broken chunks of loose pavement by going into the other lane because there is no way to know what’s on the other side of the hill. Basically, it’s pray-for-your-tires, hope you have good skid plates, and keep going.
And, no, I don’t have solutions. I have been told, and I believe, that the county simply doesn’t have the money to pay for the manpower, equipment and supplies, like asphalt or chip and seal, to properly maintain the roads. It’s mostly patch-patch-patch and while crews are working in one spot, another spot is falling apart.
Basically, it’s like musical chairs.