AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) — For the next 30 days, pending weather, Aiken City crews will work to rehabilitate dirt roads in the area’s horse district.
“Well, I’m always happy to see maintenance on the streets,” Lawler Brown told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk about the project.
The City of Aiken has maintained the dirt roads in this area for more than thirty years. If you travel down them, you can see, storms and other natural occurrences affected the top layer of dirt causing erosion.
“Over time, as with any dirt roads, it requires scraping and maintenance of the sides and the shoulders,” Aiken City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh said.”There hasn’t been really a major rehabilitation of the roads at least since going back to the 1970s,” he added.
Now, a rehabilitation project is underway. The work will start on Two Notch Road on Wednesday, January 15 and will continue onto Grace Avenue. Mead Avenue S.E., Magnolia Street S.E., Sumter Street S.E., and Marion Street S.E. will also be worked on.
“We’re putting a base of sand and clay. On top of that will be a sand and dirt mixture and that should provide a good solid base for a good while, a decade-plus,” Bedenbaugh shared.
“Aiken is a really unique place, in particular, the horse district. I don’t know if there’s anyplace else like this where you can bring horses and ride around the neighborhood and then go into the woods,” Marianne Lehman said.
Lehman has lived in the area or about seven years she says that she definitely sees the need for the work. But the work, for some, was a surprise. “The biggest concern that I’ve been hearing from the horse people is that the City kind of made this blanket decision without consulting with any of them first. They didn’t get a chance to chime in and give their opinion one way or the other. They were just kind of told this is happening,” she said.
Another concern is the material horses will be walking on.”If they make the roads harder than they currently are, it can be tough on the horses’ legs. Right now, they’re good for the horses and you don’t have to just walk on them. You can trot on them. But again, I know it’s a lot of work for the city,” Lehman added.
Lawler Brown has been riding on these roads for years. For him, the project is a good thing but the timing could have been better. “A lot of us wish that they could schedule the maintenance of the roads for the summertime rather than the winter. Last year, they were doing a lot of heavy sewer work here and it could have been done in the summertime. But as long as they continue to put sand down on the roads, it’s a great material to ride on and I’m happy to see them fix up the roads.”
The work starts at 8:30 a.m. and should be wrapped up by 3:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. Utilities crews will work one road at a time, closing the road to through traffic. Crews will work with residents prior to work so as to not restrict them from coming or going.
Residents may have some wait time, and roads may not be smooth during working hours.
The funding for this project comes from road maintenance fees paid by car and truck property owners in the area.
The cost is an estimated $150,000.