Residents on Columbia County dirt road beg for help after mail service suspended

Monday, Nov. 18, 2019
News 12 at 6 O’Clock

Imagine living on a dirt road that is so dangerous postal workers, school buses, garbage workers turn the other way. (Source: WRDW)

COLUMBIA COUNTY, GA (WRDW/WAGT) – Imagine living on a dirt road that is so dangerous postal workers, school buses, garbage workers turn the other way.

The other problem is you're in charge of getting it fixed.

That’s the problem on Otis Way in Columbia County. It’s one of hundreds of private roads where neighbors are in charge of upkeep.

But the costs is expensive. After a postal worker got stuck in the mud on the road, residents received a letter saying mail service was suspended.

For people like Nancy Chavis who live on Otis Way, maintaining the road has become a second job, and a costly one at that.

"We have an estimated, as of last week, of $16,000 for a motor grader to come in and that's not putting gravel down on this road,” Chavis said.

It's been a problem for more than a decade for the 50 people who live here. If the road isn't up to par, the services stop and the neighborhood becomes forgotten. It's something they've dealt with before.

“The school buses had stopped and were dropping our children off at the top of the road, which from the top of the road to the end of the road, it's a .9 of a mile,” Chavis said.

That was also around the time a fire destroyed Chavis's workshop. She says the fire department couldn't get down the road in time to save it.

"My husband’s workshop caught on fire, we were in Harlem, a good 7, 8 miles from my home, I beat the Fire Department,” Chavis said. “I beat all of them here."

The neighborhood has tried multiple times to get the county to take the road, but the county can't take it unless it's up to code. People here can't afford to get it to code.

"We would love for it to turn into the county,” Chavis said. “But there's been no success, no help from the county. It's throw your hands up and say it's your road, it's your responsibility."

So they're stuck -- stuck with a problem like the postal workers and school buses get stuck in the mud.

The county is growing fast. There are more than 30 miles of dirt roads in the county and 590 private roads. So a lot of people are having to pay extra on top of their taxes that's supposed to handle stuff like this.

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