County to work on ‘worst’ dirt roads

Published 6:19 am Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Residents who live along what has been called one of Decatur County’s roughest dirt roads may soon get some help from the County Public Works Department, which aims to try a new road-smoothing technique.

Even before Tuesday night’s County Commission meeting, Commissioner Gary Phillips acknowledged Carter’s Mill Road as one of the worst roads to travel on in the county. On Tuesday night, Phillips said he has heard complaints about the road dating back to 2005, before he ran for office. County Commissioner Butch Mosely said he had heard many complaints, too, and was in favor of putting the road, located southeast of Brinson, on the southern side of U.S. 84 East, on a priority todo list for the Public Works Department.

Floyd Minks, who spoke on behalf of Carter’s Mill Road residents, said he believed the road’s poor condition creates a safety hazard, damages vehicles and could cause health problems due to all the dust raised by vehicle traffic. While Minks said he would like to see the county pave the road, Public Works Superintendent Dennis Medley said that would be difficult because sections of the road have a narrow right-of-way—as small as 30 feet across—and due to the economic downturn, neither the state or county government could afford to pave the road.

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Instead, Medley—who recently attended a meeting on best practices in road maintenance held in Tifton, Ga., along with several other county officials—plans to try a new method that could greatly improve the road’s quality without paving it. The county plans to purchase geotextile fabric which is laid down over the road. Then, at least six to eight inches of a material known as GAB—graded aggregate base—on top of the fabric, then roll and pack it to create a surface that will feel like it is paved, according to Medley.

The method will also be tested on McLeroy Road in the Recovery community, County Administrator Tom Patton said.