Waiting On DOT Paves Way For Small-Town Street Crews
Posted November 7, 2006 6:14 a.m. EST
HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. — The state budget crunch in recent years pushed more small towns into the street paving and patching business.
Cities like Raleigh have handled many of their own road needs for years, while smaller towns with smaller budgets relied on the state Department of Transportation to upgrade and maintain their thoroughfares.
But with state road resources stretched thin, it would often take a long time for the DOT to fix roads in Holly Springs. So, the town bought its own asphalt machine and has started to do its own road patching.
"Right now, if it isn't done, we're going to do it. It's just that simple," Mayor Dick Sears said.
Holly Springs also recently spent $6 million for a major overhaul of Holly Springs Road at Main Street, to improve the intersection of Holly Springs and Sunset Lake roads and to widen Avent Ferry Road -- all of which are state-owned roads.
"We understand the budgeting issues with DOT," Sears said. "However, we can't wait; we've got to move now. We have 2.7 families moving in each day, so with that, we've got to do our own road improvements where we can and where we can afford it."
Many drivers said they didn't realize their town was footing a growing portion of the road bill. The annual $800,000 Holly Springs pays on its road improvement loan amounts to about 5 percent of its budget.
Sears said the state needs to change the way it doles out road money.
"Put the money where the traffic is," he said.