Grey Line residents ready for road to be paved

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 18, 2001

A neighborhood dog passes beside one of the potholes near the mailboxes of residents on Greyline Drive. (The Vicksburg Post/MELANIE DUNCAN)

[06/18/01] Supervisors say frugal management has already made possible paving six more roads than they’d planned this year, but residents of Grey Line Drive said they’d like to be on that list.

Under Warren County’s latest contract with APAC, $556,000 was to be spent putting new riding surfaces on 15 county roads, most of them in residential areas.

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But after completing the work authorized by the September 2000 agreement, six more roads were added in the same contract because of lower-than-expected costs, Board of Supervisors president Richard George said.

Warren County has been using a portion of its casino revenue to fund two resurfacing projects a year of approximately $500,000-$600,000 each. The projects do not include state-aid roads.

“We concentrated on major arteries and thoroughfares early on, so now we are attempting to address subdivision streets that are long overdue,” George said. Warren County gets property taxes from casino and hotel developments started here in 1993, shares in about half of a state-set 0.8 percent revenue tax and gets 25 percent of a 3.2 percent local revenue tax.

“We’re working toward a position to spend more money on roads, and we’re making moves to address gravel roads, and what would be the best result for the money spent,” he said.

The roads to be resurfaced were selected based on the conditions of the roads, traffic count, and road importance.

George said the county maintains 426 miles of road and has 218 paved roads and 208 gravel. He said the county would need to spend an estimated $12 million to pave all the roads in Warren County.

The persistent problem for Grey Line residents is that their road, located off Freetown Road, is private. Under state law, the county can’t legally accept it for maintenance until it is brought up to standards and passes an inspection. So, while the road provides access to several dozen manufactured homes, is cratered by ditches and potholes and unusable during rain and winter, it would be illegal for supervisors to spend public money fixing it up.

Lela Flowers, an area resident who uses Grey Line to get back and forth to her home, said the county uses the roads for school buses and for county trucks who do work in the Freetown area. Since public vehicles use the road, she said, public dollars should fix it.

“My concern is for the wear and tear on vehicles and the safety of the school children riding buses on the road,” Flowers said.

District 1 Supervisor David McDonald, whose district includes Grey Line, said the county is prohibited by law from doing maintenance on a road it does not own. He said the county would be interested in taking over the road, but cannot do so because of the condition.

“The county takes over roads quite often, but developers usually make sure the roads meet specifications, so the county can maintain them in the future,” McDonald said. “Grey Line was just not built up to standards. It’s not fair to county taxpayers to ask them to pay to fix a private road.”

The developer of the Grey Line area, R.V. Grey, said he is not obligated to repair the road as well and does not plan to do so.

“I’m not having anything else to do with Grey Line Drive,” Grey said. “Landowners, if they want the road fixed, it’s their responsibility to fix it. I’m never going to touch that road again.”

For the county to acquire the road however, it would have to be deeded to the county by Grey and even then, landowners would have to maintain the road for a year before the county could take over maintenance, McDonald said.

He said the road would need to have at least 6 inches of gravel on it, water lines would have to be moved from the center of the road to the sides, and a culvert would need to be extended because the slope is too steep, before the county would be able to consider maintaining it.

Residents on the property have tried to lay gravel but find it difficult to maintain alone.

“We’ve had people donate money and buy gravel and they did what they could,” Grey Line resident Robert Coley said. “They were only able to cover up some of the holes.”

Coley, who has lived in his Grey Line residence since 1994, said it’s nearly impossible to get out of the area after it rains.

Another resident, Gene Rouse, said he would like to see something done and has had to replace tires on his car, in part, because of the road conditions.

“All it takes is a thunderstorm and it’s hard to get out of here,” Rouse said. “It’s ridiculous.”