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Commissioners want to talk more before moving on with road project

Without the aide of a grant, Grady County does not currently have the resources to pave any county dirt roads, Administrator Carlos Tobar told county commissioners Tuesday night.
However, Tobar outlined a preliminary plan to address concerns raised by residents of Borden Road and Borden Lane.
Residents have made numerous visits to the courthouse to complain about the condition of the road and safety hazards involving curves on the road including Tuesday night.
Christina Issacs served as the spokesman for a small delegation of Borden Road residents this week. Issacs told commissioners that on July 13 and August 1 she had gone into the ditch and had to be pulled out by a local towing company. She said on one occasion the road was wet and on the second it was completely dry.
“I came up on the raw end of the deal twice. Something has to be done,” she told commissioners.
Of particular concern to the residents is the narrowness of the road especially when two vehicles meet in a curve.
Ms. Issacs also thanked commissioners for the work the road department has done over the last several months and even more recently in an attempt to make the road passable, but she noted that the most recent work had caused at least one Borden Road resident to get stuck in their own driveway.
The county administrator told commissioners the only way to properly correct the situation was to widen the road.
“This will require acquisition of right-of-way. It’s a slow process. What I need to know is how soon you (the board) would like to do that,” Tobar said.
“Is this something you would like to do and how soon would you like to begin?” Tobar asked.
The administrator also shared with the board some discussions he has had with the road superintendent in Decatur County about a process that has been used there to eliminate the need for additional repairs or maintenance for up to two years.
According to Tobar, in Decatur County the road department has layered a combination of fabric and crushed concrete to stabilize roads.
“This is much less costly than paving, but there are other issues like the narrowness of the road,” Tobar said.
The administrator said he would like to schedule a field trip to Decatur County with the board and a representative of the Borden Road residents to see how the process works.
Commissioner Charles Norton asked if it was possible only to widen the road in certain sections rather than the entire length of the road.
County Attorney Kevin S. Cauley suggested it would be practical to have the road surveyed first.
Tobar said consulting engineer Stacy Watkins could assist the county with the survey and engineering design of the project.
Commissioner T.D. David reminded Tobar that anything other than grading and maintenance would require a decision of the board and he was not prepared to make any commitments until a full discussion by the board could be held. David also commended the Borden Road residents for remaining vigilant in their desire to have work done on the road.
“I have a problem with widening the road. How wide are you going to widen it? Whose land do we have to get? Are they going to donate the land? If they don’t that’s a cost. I live on a dirt road, too. Are you going to widen mine?” Commissioner Elwyn Childs asked Tobar.
“I’m like T.D., there is a lot to look at. I sympathize with them but what Carlos has presented to us tonight, costs can go way up in a hurry. He’s talking about getting Stacy to work on this, but Stanley (Elkins) can tell us what we need to do to widen the road. We’re about to open a can of worms that could bust this county wide open if we’re not careful,” Childs added.
Cauley said that in the past the board had a priority list and he was not sure where Borden Road fell on that list or even if the list was still maintained by the board.
Chairman LaFaye Copeland said that she and Tobar had recently made a visit to Borden Road and during their inspection they were almost forced off the road when they met another vehicle in a curve on the road.
“The road is really terrible. I didn’t realize some of those curves were so bad,” the chairman said.
She added, “We haven’t forgotten you and don’t think we’ve put you on the back burner. We need to have some work sessions and talk it out. We will come back with something later on, but there will be no decision tonight.”
Commissioner Norton suggested the board should visit the road as a group in addition to having a work session.
No date for a field trip or work session was set Tuesday night.

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