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County: Avoid dirt road travel
Roads worsen, school bus routes suspended
flood
Ogeechee River waters flow over Riverview Road in February 2020 cutting off Woodwards Landing after severe rains last year. With heavy rains in the past few days, Bulloch County commissioners are discussing methods to mitigate dirt road issues. - photo by By SCOTT BRYANT/staff

School bus service has been suspended for a number of Bulloch County dirt roads, and county officials are asking people to avoid traveling down any dirt road unless absolutely necessary. Unusually heavy rainfall over past month has caused flooding, erosion and a lot of damage to Bulloch County’s 700-plus miles of unpaved roads.

“This isn’t a road-crowning or ditch-digging issue,” Bulloch County Board of Commissioners Chairman Roy Thompson said Wednesday. “It is a rain issue.”

During Tuesday night’s Bulloch County commission meeting, several attended to address dirt road issues. Thompson asked for the crowd to be silent for a moment to listen as heavy rain pounded the building. Commissioners also showed a video of several dirt roads in the county that have suffered astounding rainfall damages. Road crews are stretched to keep up in dry weather, but when the weather has been as wet for so long, as it has this winter, “there is not much they can do” until the rainfall stops, he said.

In some areas, crews have brought in rocks, but unnecessary traffic and people intentionally spinning wheels and “bogging” doesn’t help.

“Public works, law enforcement and emergency services are asking that the public restrict or discontinue travel on all dirt roads with the exception of deliveries, residents living on these roads, law enforcement and emergency services,” Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn said Wednesday. “Unnecessary travel on these roads continues to exacerbate a mounting problem.”

Several roads have been closed due to the excessive rainfall.

“As a result (of road closures), Bulloch County Schools has suspended school bus services to homes on these dirt roads,” said Bulloch County Schools Public Relations Director Hayley Greene. “Parents should … make alternate transportation plans to and from school for Thursday, and possibly Friday.”

Bulloch County Roads Superintendent Dink Butler met with county commissioners and Bulloch County law enforcement Wednesday to discuss the situation. Last month he reached out the community, asking people to stop “cutting doughnuts” and spinning wheels with four-wheel-drive pickups and ATVS, damaging the roads. With an already challenging situation regarding maintenance of so many miles of dirt roads, and heavy rainfall on top of that, intentional damage only makes it worse, he said.

Wynn said road conditions can interfere with emergency response, but “we will get to you” if you need help.

“It might take longer, but we will get to you.”

Last week, copious rainfall led to a man having to be taken in a four-wheel-drive truck to meet an ambulance, but he was transported safely, he said.

But “the sight-seeing and mud bogging has to stop,” he added. “What stability is left on some of these roads must be maintained to facilitate emergency response. Rainfall totaling 3–5 inches is expected in areas of the county over the next couple of days. Please stay off all dirt roads unless it is necessary.”

Roads closed are as follows, but there are many other roads that should be avoided if possible: Buie Driggers, from Holloway to Bryant Still and from JR Cribbs to Highway 80 East; Cox Futch at Peppercorn; a portion of Bryant Still to Stilson Leefield; WO Peacock, from Clark Farm to Cedarlawn; Honey Bowen at Ben Grady Collins; Arcola; Sinkhole at South Jo-Dan; Macedonia; Miller Street Extension; Riverview at Old River; Old Portal below Moore; and EC Hunnicut, from Fate Deal to Metts.

Wynn advised people to not hesitate to call 911 if they find themselves in an emergency situation. Despite road issues, “we will come get you,” he said.

Thompson said there was some discussion Wednesday about possibly limiting logging on rural dirt roads temporarily until the weather clears and roads dry.

 

Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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