Residents of 50+-year-old community in Aiken County want dirt paved road; county leaders working

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AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) — People who live in one Aiken County community are concerned over road conditions there.

The road they live on is not paved, and they say it’s causing problems.

“I live on a dirt road in 2021 without internet access or trash pickup,” Aiken County resident Caroline Dallas told NewsChannel 6’s Aiken Bureau Chief Shawn Cabbagestalk about the issue.

It’s along a beaten path, but when it rains along Lincoln Way in Beech Island, the path is, in fact, beaten up. “Dirt road that has eroded, and there have been craters in there are craters in the road from where earth we’ve had storms,” Dallas added.

Photos show trucks getting stuck and even postal service workers getting trapped in a mess. The issue is very costly. Some say they constantly have to get maintenance on their vehicles because of the constant problems. “You’re constantly having to get in a realignment or, you know, checking on the undercarriage of our cars because we’ve hit a bump or something’s gotten loose just from being on a raggedy dirt road,” Dallas recalls.

Aiken County Deputy Administrator Brian Sanders says getting dirt roads paved is a long process that includes petitions, the time and effort to complete the work, and securing funding for the projects. “Each mile of dirt road costs between $750,000 and a million dollars to paved that is going from dirt to paved,” Deputy County Administrator Brian Sanders said. “There’s a good bit of engineering that’s involved because you then have to get drainage on either side of the road. You have to figure out where that water’s going. There’s a lot that goes in into paving a road, so it takes time, and it takes money,” he added.

There are several options county leaders can use, including the capital project sales tax program.

“Even though it’s a long process, you have to get the process started before it can, can get done,” Sanders added.

If you’re interested in getting your road paved, the first stop is the public works department. You will be mailed a form and/or get an email with instructions to get the process started. “Sometimes staff actually does not wait for citizens to ask because we’re out there working the roads,” Sanders shared. “We see that [road crews] manage to have certain roads paved already. It’s not just a citizen-driven thing. It can be a staff-driven thing as well,” he added.

For the residents on and near Lincoln Way, “We had enough signatures on that petition to justify that there were enough people interested,” Sanders shared.

Meanwhile, no matter how the issue is taken care of, Dallas says that she just wants it to be fixed. “I believe that if you pay your taxes, you work and we all go, we go to church, we serve God. And this is a community that we all have grown up in that when we ask or request something that it will get done and not just push aside,” Dallas shared.

“So now, it is on the list officially for consideration to be paved,” Sanders said.

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