Williams: County roads' maintenance being assessed on case-by-case basis

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

CARROLL COUNTY -- Deciding which roads the county should maintain involves more than just the number of the digits in the name of a road.

County Judge Richard Williams said he will continue to assess roads on a case-by-case basis, to determine which are private roads.

This topic came up last week, when Williams agreed to continue an arrangement between the county and the city of Oak Grove. The county will continue to provide manpower and equipment for County Road 4351, and the city will provide the necessary materials.

Although CR 4351 has four digits, more than a dozen residences are on that road. Williams has emphasized removing those roads from the system which only serve one residence.

As a rule, three-digit roads are legitimate parts of the county road system. Most four-digit roads are private driveways, although they are numbered for 911 purposes.

However, some four-digit roads actually connect other county roads. In some areas, roads received four-digit numbers because no three-digit numbers remained in an area.

Williams said the Roads Department has begun placing "Private Road" signs on the existing road markers once a road is determined to be a private drive.

Just because school buses or mail delivery vehicles use a road does not affect a road's status, Williams said, although he takes those factors into consideration. "I look at these roads on an individual basis,"?he said. "If people have concerns, they can address them with me."

With more than 1,800 miles of county roads, Williams has emphasized the need to review which roads should receive continued maintenance. "I want to do what's right for the county as a whole,"?he said.

Williams is working toward an ordinance for future subdivisions, so the county does not have to take responsibility for new substandard roads. He is studying similar ordinances used by cities, which require developers to bring roads to a certain standard before they become public roads.

The judge said the future subdivision ordinance goes hand-in-hand with his review of county roads. As an example, he suggested a case where one property owner owns all the land on both sides of a road. If he then develops a subdivision, and that road is already part of the county road system, the county will have to make the necessary improvements to accommodate the additional residents. If that road is listed as a private road, the developer would have to make the initial improvements to bring the road up to county standards.

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