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Citizens demand paving

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August 12, 2002

Since the 1970's, a group of Lee Countians has been fighting to get a road paved. Armena Road is home to more than 100 families. The long dirt road is listed as a "top priority" by the County to be paved. But decades old legal issues are delaying the process, and residents want some answers.

This dust and mud covered car endures lots of wear and tear. Armena Road resident Ida Bradshaw says, "When I had my oil change my mechanic said its beating my car to death I have an oil leak because its jarring my car." This dirt road is Armena Road, and Ida Bradshaw says the terrible road conditions are causing more than car problems. Bradshaw says, "A man's house burned a few years ago, burned to the ground because the fire trucks couldn't make it down the road because of bad rain."

For years, homeowners have complained about the road, made worse by bad weather. They're complaints have not fallen on deaf ears. County Administrator Langford Holbrook says, "Armena is a top two paving priority."

But, paving the road is a problem that goes back several decades. In the 1970's, many of these homes were built on the right of way, and for the road to be paved, homeowners will have to give or sell some property. Holbrook says, "The East West Connector only had 50 parcels and its a five mile road. This is no where near that length but it has so many parcels to deal with."

Right now, the engineering and right of way plans are complete. To take the next step, the County needs to acquire enough land to build the road, and they plan to approach residents in the next sixty days. But, residents are doubtful that will happen. Bradshaw says, "It was in the 70's when the road suppose to paved, now 2002 and no closer than the 70's." There is no definite date that paving is scheduled to start. But, if the County acquires the right of way, that date could be set soon.

County Administrator Langford Holbrook says the County Attorney is working on the paperwork to legally acquire the right of way from residents. Once that happens, the County will approach DOT to help cover up to 40% of the costs.

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