Dirt roads become victims in heavy rainfall - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Dirt roads become victims in heavy rainfall

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By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

CAIRO, GA (WALB) – Road workers in several counties are preparing for the predicted heavy rain but say there isn't much preventative maintenance they can do on dirt roads.

Many crews have struggled to keep up with the demands of washed out dirt roads and say it's a constant battle to keep the roads safe and passable.

Grady road supervisor Yancey Maxwell often feels like he's fighting a losing battle.

"It's all weather related. We scrape the roads and then it rains right behind us. Everything that was fixed is undone."

He says since December, his county has seen nearly 30 inches of rainfall. It has been a death sentence for dirt roads in the area.

"When we get rain, the dirt roads, you're dealing with 4 to 5 different soil types that get muddy, sloppy, and rutted up. Then when you get excess rain like now, the ditches get filled up with water to the side of the road and springs pop up and bog holes emerge."

Even though the road itself looks dry and safe, it's actually very deceiving. A recent rain washed out the ditch and filled it with saturated soil. That means with the next rainfall, there won't be anywhere for the water to go.

Maxwell only has two crews available to fix dirt roads after a heavy rainfall. But even if he had more, maintenance depends on weather conditions.

"Work on dirt roads is like farmers. We can't work if it's too wet. Some weeks we can't get out at all and others we get out three times. It's a constant battle."

And there isn't much road crews can do to prevent the roads from becoming a mess.

"You react after it happens. It takes two weeks for the motor graters to make their rounds. We need time to get around, so we ask that they bear with us."

Crews must wait for the right soil conditions to properly repair a dirt road. And with several days of rain in the forecast, Maxwell and his crews will have to keep trying to stay afloat.

Maxwell says all of Grady county's dirt roads should remain passable. But he warns that the rain could still make dirt roads dangerous.

He says drivers should stay in the ruts and slow down.

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