With excessive rainfall already keeping Bulloch County road crews busy with constant repairs, they don’t need any extra problems. That’s what they are finding, however, due to vandalism and intentional destruction caused by drivers of all-terrain vehicles and four-wheel-drive trucks using the county roads as mud bogging pits.
Bulloch County Roads and Transportation Director Dink Butler said he has his work cut out for him with all the excessive rainfall recently and over 700 miles of dirt roads to maintain. Those challenges are unavoidable, but when someone spins wheels, “cuts doughnuts” and gouges deep ruts in muddy roads just for fun, the workload doubles.
That isn’t all people are doing, he said. They’re also “stealing barriers and ‘road closed’ signs and throwing them in the ditches.”
It has become such a problem that now, when a road is closed, the county crews are mounting signs on posts sunk into the ground instead of on movable bases.
Most of the vandalism and damage is taking place in the southern end of the county, but the problem is found county-wide.
Bulloch County Public Safety/EMA Director Ted Wynn said the problem isn’t just a hindrance, it is a safety hazard.
“If a driver, especially at night, isn’t warned by a sign that a road is closed,” they could encounter dangerous conditions that could lead to injury or property damages, he said.
Butler said workers recently put a great deal of time and effort into repairs on Buie Driggers Road, but “almost immediately there comes (trucks and ATVs) in behind us and they tear it up.” At least 50 percent of the road damage in the southern part of the county is due to such vandalism and intentional misuse.
Bulloch County Board of Commissioners Chairman Roy Thompson urges residents to educate young drivers about road damage and the cost to taxpayers caused by intentional vandalism. He also hopes residents will start reporting vehicles — trucks, ATVS, UTVs and otherwise — that are seen damaging the roads.
Butler said tag numbers, areas where the offenders are seen and vehicle descriptions would be helpful. Thompson said offenders, if caught, will be prosecuted.
“If you see something, say something,” Wynn said.
Anyone who witnesses the vandalism to dirt roads, signs or any county property should contact the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office immediately at (912) 764-8888.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.