With wet weather expected for the next seven days, area residents living in or who travel dirt roads should expect hazardous conditions.
The National Weather Service predicts rainy weather through at least Wednesday, with cooler temperatures – highs in the mid to upper 80’s. Paired with recent rainfall over the past few days, rain this upcoming week could mean sloppy, rutted and washed-out dirt roads.
“We’re doing what we can,” said Thurman Fail, a road superintendent for the county. “We’re trying to keep up with (road maintenance) but the rains keep coming.”
If a road is scraped one day and a deluge comes the next, the loose soil can create a quagmire, and the work the operator performed the day before is obliterated, he said.
With a shortage of skilled operators who can run heavy equipment and also supervise inmate labor, the employees who are working are stretched thin and some are taxed with long shifts and overtime.
But even with a full crew, torrential rains will pose a problem, and Bulloch County has more miles of dirt roads than any other county in Georgia.
The best option is avoid dirt roads during wet weather if possible, but many residents live on dirt roads or must travel them to reach their destinations.
Fail offered tips for navigating the messy, muddy roads:
“The main thing is, slow down,” he said. “Take your time and watch the road.” If ruts are deep, and the road appears to be of sandy soil, he recommends straddling the ruts, but on clay roads, if the ruts are not too deep, he suggests staying in the ruts. Those driving low-slung vehicles should make sure they won’t “bottom out” and get stuck.
Drivers should not attempt to cross water-covered roadways, he said.
Fail assured residents that county employees are working diligently to keep roads safe and maintained, but to expect deterioration of dirt roads during the rainy weather.
“Be patient,” he asked. “We are short-handed” and there are few qualified applicants seeking the positions that are available with the county.
Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.