Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Brantley County to Pack Roads, Ending 'Mud Days'; Paving Is Not in the Works Yet, but Improvements Are Being Made to Prevent Washouts

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Brantley County to Pack Roads, Ending 'Mud Days'; Paving Is Not in the Works Yet, but Improvements Are Being Made to Prevent Washouts

Article excerpt

Byline: MIKE MORRISON

WAYNESVILLE - Up north, children miss school because of snow days. In southeast Georgia's Brantley County, something else keeps the kids at home.

"We don't have snow days," County Commissioner Mike Edgy said. "We have mud days. We had two or three last year because the buses couldn't run on some of our dirt roads."

Nearly 500 miles of dirt roads crisscross the rural county. A heavy rain can turn some of the roads into impassable bogs, trapping residents without 4-wheel-drive vehicles in their homes until county road workers arrive to patch up the mess.

Muddy dirt roads pose an inconvenience, for sure, but also drain money from county coffers at an alarming rate - to the extent that the County Commission has come up with a more permanent fix.

Paving all the dirt roads is not something that's feasible, but improving the roads enough so that they're passable even on the rainiest of days is.

"We've been spending too much money on temporary repairs," commission Chairman Ron Ham said. "We can spend a little bit more and do something that's going to hold up a lot longer."

The county is waging a war on mud, and Edgy, Ham and County Manager Parrish Barwick met Thursday on Albert Gibson Road in the eastern part of the county to review the progress.

The road is among the first to be improved in the project, which will take several years. It has been filled, graded and ditched. The result is an elevated, hard-packed dirt road that should hold up for a while.

Barwick, a burly ex-Florida State football player, pointed to the bottom of the sandy ditch, about 18 inches below the roadbed.

"Look at the bottom of the ditch," he said. "That's essentially what the level of the road was a few weeks ago. The road was essentially at the level of the water table. It has been brought up close to two feet and now we have actual ditches to flow the water off the road and keep it drier."

Edgy lives nearby. …

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