Perry County Residents Upset Over Bad Roads

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By Evie Allen
By Andy Shofstall

DU QUOIN -- People in Perry County are voicing concerns about the condition of some roads.

One in particular, Black Pine Road southwest of Du Quoin, was recently repaired but the two homeowners that live along it say it's now worse than before. It's been a rocky couple of months for residents along that road.

"The road is horrible. I mean it's ten times worse than what it was," says resident Willie Dearmond.

The road has had problems for years with its gravel surface. People who live here say they've had to replace car parts and school buses no longer come down it. In June road crews dug ditches to fix a drainage problem.

"The road would stay wet. It would pump, the oil and chip would then pothole and broke up," county engineer says Otten.

Resident Willie Dearmond believes the road is worse than before. Dearmond says the repairs took Black Pine from a lane and a half to down to one lane. 

But Otten disagrees.

"To remedy that, we've pulled the shoulders back up and I believe we've actually given them a wider road."

Dearmond says another issue is a lack of  proper maintenance which causes bigger problems long-term.

"You can't repair stuff and you can't stay ahead of stuff if you don't ever do any maintenance," he says.

Nearly eight years ago, several districts were in charge of the roads. But since consolidating into a county-wide system, Dearmond says his road, along with others, has suffered.     

"You would call and they would have it fixed. It might not be right then but it ain't going to be no two months to get the road graded," says Dearmond.

Residents would like to see their road oiled and chipped. Otten says that will take more funding and it won't happen this year. Right now he's asking residents to be patient. 

"If they could give us time and just let us do what we need to do. And if they have any problems, call me and I will take care of them," says Otten.

Otten says work on Black Pine Road is not done. The county plans to grade it later this month and provide continued maintenance to keep the surface smooth.
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