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SIMPSON: Road priorities need some work

The media tells us about commuting routes in need of repairs and repaving. Travelers know of others not on the list that are in need of tender, loving care.

Priority and money. Where do funds come from and which roads manage to make the list? Ordinary folks without governmental powers can only make suggestions.

Citizens down in south Rockdale probably have at least two suggestions of roads needing upgrading. Oglesby Bridge Road and Union Church Road. These are heavily traveled cross-county routes being worn down by constant travelers.

If in doubt just ask that old hawk that sits up on a power line along the road looking for prey. He and the buzzards find lots of road kill along these routes. Power company trucks pass daily en route to jobs from their headquarters. Tree farmers on the monastery property send logging trucks up and down these roads constantly.

All manner of vehicles, school buses, commuters, moms driving children to schools and school activities, travel these cross-county major arteries.

The asphalt is crumbling as residents of nearby subdivisions utilize these roads for local shopping and for ways to other daily activities. Sunday cyclists enjoy these country roads.

Years ago, Oglesby Bridge Road was dirt. It was narrow and dusty. A former county commissioner, when asked to scrape it, said, "This road doesn't go anywhere." Well, that is no longer the case. This road does go somewhere. Ask all those who rely on it. It is important to commerce in the area.

Residents who donated land to the county to get Oglesby Bridge Road paved would appreciate consideration for it to be better maintained than it has been. They would appreciate more cutting of the right of way and pickup of trash deposited along the road by those who won't take time to carry their garbage to the landfill.

Would it not be a nice gesture for those who meet and plan repair and repaving of roads to send observers to the hawk's vantage point and see what goes on along these busy roads?

Maybe then it could be confirmed that Oglesby Bridge Road and Union Church Road could be placed on a higher priority for resurfacing, particularly on portions of the roads where there are residents. Intersection improvements and paving beyond the South River, where there are few homes, was appreciated, but of little help to most homes in the area.

People concerned with next year's transportation sales tax referendum are encouraging commission chairmen and mayors to back mass transit. These individuals want more buses and rail lines and argue that mass transit brings more economic growth.

Some others wonder if spending $72 million to have a street car carry passengers from Centennial Olympic Park to the King Center will do a great deal for the local economy over time.

In the meantime, suburbanites expect their major routes to be maintained and repaved for daily travel to work, schools and community facilities. Failure to keep up infrastructure brings neglect, code violations and congestion and has an adverse effect on property values and quality of life.

Citizens recognize that we have money problems and projects have to be studied and prioritized. Roads cannot be considered for repaving if they are not examined and listed.

Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and a law enforcement officer.