Originally created 12/19/97

Streets remain unpaved



C.D. Powell gets nervous each time a school bus comes up his dirt road, especially in the winter when it rains a lot.

"Washes out and gets really (muddy). It's downhill getting out, so you can just slide out. The problem comes with getting back in and don't let the school bus come up in here," said Mr. Powell, who has lived on Powell Court for more than 20 years. "It's just a one-lane road. So if another car meets a school bus, somebody will have to back up."

Augusta has nearly 45 miles of dirt roads. Members of the Augusta Commission's subcommittee on unpaved roads met Thursday to review a list of roads that may get some asphalt first.

The city has $5 million available to begin work on the dirt roads. But the list must first be approved by the city's engineering services committee and then by the Augusta Commission. Paving streets will cut maintenance costs, officials said.

Commissioner Henry Brigham, who chairs the subcommittee, said he has no idea how long the process will take.

Work will begin on the dirt roads, except for unpaved streets in Belair Hills Estates subdivision, when the list is approved, Mr. Brigham said. Paving in Belair Hills is contingent upon a study that won't be completed until the end of January, Mr. Brigham said.

Most of the city's 100 dirt roads lie in south Augusta. Commissioners agreed in October on a formula to determine which streets would be paved first. The cost is around $8.5 million, officials said.

The formula is based on the number of homes every tenth of a mile and how long a road has been unpaved. Commissioners may also consider whether school buses travel the street and if it dead-ends, like Powell Court.

Mr. Powell has been fighting for five years to get pavement. It was on the paving docket at one time but was bumped off, he said. Mr. Powell hopes that won't happen again.

"They have to scrape it each time it rains because it gets ruts in it," Mr. Powell said. "It's real rough, especially on your car. And when it rains real good, all the dirt washes out ... I'm surprised there isn't a great many accidents."