County road graders made Lament Lane even worse, residents claim
By: Darrell Todd Maurina
Posted: Monday, February 22, 2010 5:57 pm
Eric Bushley says both dogs and cars have trouble navigating ruts in what is supposed to be a gravel road that has turned to mud.
PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (Feb. 22, 2010) — Eastern District Commissioner Bill Farnham has been warning residents for weeks at Pulaski County Commission meetings that the rural roads in his district are in bad shape. Two of his constituents agree, and said Monday afternoon that their road is in such bad shape that it’s no longer possible to safely get in and out.
Eric Bushley said he’s lived on Lament Lane since 1995 and since he owns a snowplow business, he plows the road regularly since county road crews don’t.
However, Bushley said his road has gotten so bad that he’s not sure anything but a four-wheel-drive vehicle can get through the deep water-filled mud ruts in what was once a gravel road. According to Bushley, a road grader operator came out Monday, graded the road, and made matters worse.
“I was actually nose-to-nose with the road supervisor and he said it was the best it could be done,” Bushley said. “I politely told him that I could do a better job with my S-10 pickup than he did with his $120,000 road grader … they have not been down to grade this road since a week before Thanksgiving, and I know that because they knocked down my water meter.”
One of Bushley’s neighbors, Jeanette Carter, said she’s grateful for Bushley’s efforts to plow her road, but said she’s not happy that he’s doing the job normally done by county employees.
“I’ve gotten stuck big time; I came out here and it is totally mud,” Carter said. “Tomorrow morning, if it doesn’t freeze, I can’t get out.”
Carter said she’s lived on Lament Lane for 36 years and has never seen her road in as bad condition as it’s been this winter.
“In prior years I didn’t need to worry about the mud — snow and ice a little bit, but never mud,” Carter said.
Lament Lane, a dead-end gravel road just outside the St. Robert city limits near Zeigenbein Road, is just a few minutes from a hard-surfaced road that’s regularly plowed by St. Robert road crews. If Lament Lane residents can make it up a hill to reach pavement, they’re usually able to get the rest of the way to their destination.
“I’m not going to say pave the road, but it needs to be maintained,” Carter said. “It’s just solid mud.”
Bushley said county maintenance has been minimal to nonexistent.
“The county doesn’t snowplow this road until days after the fact, and if I don’t do it myself, the neighbors could never get out,” Bushley said. “It is a dead-end road; there is no through traffic, and no heavy trucks come down here except the garbage truck that comes through once a week, so there are no adverse conditions that should be affecting this road.”
Bushley said it’s not fair to Lament Lane residents such as Carter, who owns a small Ford Focus passenger car, to be unable to reach their homes or get out of their driveway once they get home.
“I want my road fixed,” Bushley said. “I honestly think the biggest problem with the road is the lack of qualified grader operators. This road should be done once per year and it should hold up; it should not be done and then fail three hours later.”
Contacted for comment, Farnham said he didn’t want to respond to details of the allegations but noted that bad weather conditions have caused problems for roads throughout the county.
“I have nothing to say other than my road grader went out there today and did the best he could under the conditions,” Farnham said.