Mississippi County Roads Could Use Some Work

BLYTHEVILLE (KAIT) Tired of bumpy back road rides?

A group of Mississippi county residents took their concerns Wednesday  to the county judge and the quorum court road committee.

Chief among their questions and complaints-- how often the roads are graded and graveled.

Greg Alexander, the groups' spokesperson told me, "I've lived in this county all my life and I'm 45 years old and these roads are nowhere near like they were 20 years ago."

It was an emotional statement echoed by many at Wednesdays' meeting in Blytheville.

Around 30 faced down County Judge Steve McGuire and members of the quorum court road committee and road supervisor Richard Sills.

The big topic, taking care of the gravel roads and the intervals between gradings. Are they too long?

Alexander says his road, CR 346 was last graded in, "November of 08, and the next time it was graded was January the 3rd. Now that's an excessive amount of time that those roads were graded."

Mississippi county has 13 graders which are able to grade about 5 to 7 miles per day in good weather.

Nearly 80-percent of Mississippi county's roads are unpaved.

Another big issue at the meeting today was the road coverings. It's called slag and they get it from the steel mills. The judge says they put it on the roads because it's cheaper and easier to get than gravel.

Judge McGuire, "Is a high calcium type material and some of these potholes that have been there forever it will eventually get that pothole taken care of."

McGuire says there is no close location for red gravel and the slag is much cheaper. Residents complain that it is hard on vehicles and does not drain well.

I drove out on the back roads of the county I found some smoother than others. One thing I did find was a grader working on 346 smoothing out slag. Actually most of the roads I drove on looked like they had just been graded, with the exception of CR 122.

Residents that live along 122  say the water has no where to go. The road is so flat the water can't drain off because of a ridge along the side that holds water in. Puddles form and get deeper and stay all year long and they just get worse and worse.

Did everybody go away satisfied from Wednesdays' meeting? Probably not. But Judge McGuire says he and the county officials will do the best they can to get things fixed.

"That's one of the things we try to address is to insure that we do everything for all the citizens basically equally. And we've only got a limited amount of funds in which to do it and that's what we utilize to the very best of our ability."