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Commissioners consider smoothing way for residents along county gravel roads; Comprehensive study sought for rural byways


For many residents, Carroll's 90 miles of unpaved roads recall the county's rural heritage. But for residents who travel them every day, they are bumpy, dirty reminders of how tough life can be without blacktop.

Yesterday, the county commissioners asked for a comprehensive study of Carroll's gravel roads to assess the need and cost of paving them.

The board also voted to keep paving projects for Leppo and Turkeyfoot roads, two of the county's most troublesome gravel roads, alive for the 2004 and 2005 capital improvement budgets.

Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge called for a comprehensive plan to address the gravel roads instead of "piecemeal" solutions.

Commissioner Donald I. Dell agreed: "We need to have a more detailed plan."

It is unclear when such a plan will be created. Dell estimated paving all the gravel roads could cost as much as $10 million.

In response to complaints by residents along Leppo and Turkeyfoot roads in north Carroll, the commissioners agreed to keep both roads under consideration for paving in five or six years.

Such projects would be costly, said J. Michael Evans, director of county Department of Public Works.

Bringing both roads up to county standards, including drainage and widening, would cost more than $2 million, Evans said. Putting a layer of blacktop over the roads would be less expensive, about $200,000 for the gravel portion of Leppo Road, about 1.3 miles. Public works officials are still determining the cost of paving about one mile of gravel road on Turkeyfoot.

Residents of both roads circulated petitions asking the county to cover their roads with blacktop.

"There were winters when it looked like craters fell into the road," said Nick DiFatta, whose family has lived on Leppo Road since 1993.

DiFatta said gravel roads have few charms. Friends and acquaintances are reluctant to visit because they fear their automobiles will be sullied with mud or damaged by potholes, he said.

Pub Date: 2/10/99

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