‘Pave my road’ Vandiver resident seeks dirt road relief

Vandiver resident Walter Bennett has been trying for seven years to get the county to pave an eighth-of-a-mile stretch of dirt road.

Bennett came to the Shelby County Commission Monday night to discuss the problem he was having with the road he lives on County Road 491.

Bennett said the road, which has access on County Road 43, is about 1.6 miles long. Half of it is paved. The other half is not.

&uot;In the last seven years, I’ve gotten a number of excuses (from the Highway Department),&uot; he said.

First he was told it was too wet to pave a road. Then, he said, he was told there was no money. Then, the paved half of the road was resurfaced, and he was told those funds came from a different source than paving funds.

&uot;Then there were right-of-way problems and appraisal problems and on and on,&uot; he said.

&uot;We keep jumping through the hurdles, doing what we’re told to do, and all they come up with is excuses,&uot; Bennett said.

&uot;If they don’t want to do it, just tell me no and I’ll go away,&uot; he said. &uot;Just stop creating hurdles for me to jump, then putting me off again.&uot;

County engineer Randy Cole spoke to Bennett regarding the road.

&uot;Obviously, this gentleman is very frustrated. This road is surely not coming along as he would want it to,&uot; Cole said.

He told Bennett there were certain channels that paving roads had to go through.

He told him the Highway Department had determined that the entrance to Highway 47 was unsafe where it is currently located.

Cole said the department plans to relocate the road but must wait on certain landowners to either sell their right-of-way or go through the condemnation process.

&uot;I’d like to stand here and tell him that we’ll be able to get to it this year, but with the condemnation process taking so long, there will not be any money left by the time we can proceed,&uot; he said.

Commissioner Ted Crockett tried to reassure Bennett.

&uot;The power of this government is on your side. I believe your road can be worked out. Be patient with us, Walter, I think we’re coming your way,&uot; Crockett said