GOSHEN COUNTY – The county is holding to their decision to bring their roads to legal status by electing to not maintain those roads that are not legally county roads.
Residents filled the meeting room Tuesday to voice their concerns about County Road 74, an east-west road behind Pleasant Valley Greenhouse. County records show approximately 800 feet of this road has not been petitioned to the county to become a county road.
But resident Craig Marsh said the county had been maintaining CR 74 since he has lived in the neighborhood.
“The county has maintained that road for over 50 years and I was told that Mr. Bob Taylor told the big shot of the county that it is no longer a county road and not to do it,” Marsh said. “It takes one time down and one time back then they are on Polly Maddens road.
“I’ve lived out there that long and it has always been maintained,” he said. “But now all of a sudden, poof.”
Residents that having school buses on this road now could damage the bus. They want to know why, after the county maintained the road for years, maintenance has stopped.
Road and Bridge Superintendent Jerry Hort explained it isn’t a county road, a petitioned county road. That it is the responsibility of the residents who live on the road in question to petition the county to classify the road as a county road. Once the road has become a petitioned county road maintenance can then resume.
“When it becomes a petitioned road the commissioners, whoever is on the board, should not deny it being a county road,” Hort said. “The other thing is, when it is not a county road and we maintain it. We are breaking state law. This is the reason we are not maintaining this road and others like it.”
Funding for the maintenance of county roads comes from the County Road Fund from the state. If the county maintains any road that is not classified as a county road, it could face fines and lose funding from the CRF, he said. If this should happen, the impact on the county could be deeply felt throughout the entire county. It could include the loss of employees that are needed to work the machinery to maintain and fix the county roads.
“Everything that was said by Jerry is true and unfortunately it was assumed to be a road that would be maintained by the county for a long, long time,” said Bob Taylor, a member of the county’s WyDOT Urban Systems and Rural Addressing committees. “The road is there because when the property was sold by a couple of gentlemen, Williams and Green back in the 1920’s and 1930’s, they reserved in the deeds a 30-foot-wide strip for a roadway. That reservation only applies to the owners of land in that area,” which does not make it a county road.
CR 74 resident Eleno Oliva presented a petition to the county, requesting maintenance of the road. Taylor said the road was narrow and that they could widen the road and maybe put in some drainage.
LeRoy and Janet Smith attend the commissioner’s meeting with their concerns about their road, County Road 35. The Smiths said their road in very narrow and gets very slick from rain and snow.
Also, with the road being narrow, compounded by the presence of large deep, drainage ditches on either side of the road, it is a challenge to pass other vehicles. When the snow or rain fill the drainage ditch it washes out the Smith’s driveway, which has to be repaired at their expense every time.
The Smiths told the commissioners CR 35 is a very busy road.
“All the water from snow goes right down into my driveway and washes all my gravel away, Mr. Smith said. “I have hauled so many loads of rock and dirt into my place.”
“The GID said they were not going to help any more, that it is a county problem. So, if it is a county problem, what can they do about it? The road is a busy road we have semi-trucks and people coming from Torrington to Yoder every day.”
The Smiths are concerned with safety on the road. Given the speed some of the traffic moves at, it’s only a matter of time before there’s a serious accident, they said. With the speed that some of the traffic travels at there soon could be a bad accident.
Hort said he’d made plans to work on CR 35, but time ran out before he could put the plan into action. He’d intended to move a berm from the east side of the road to the west side, then widen the road with a slant to the east. The slant would drain to the east into Cherry Creek.
After discussing the problems with the Smiths about CR35, commissioners sat down with Hort, Gary Childs and Taylor to talk about the problems with the roads around the county and how to fix them.
The upshot of the discussions was the Road and Bridge Department is shorthanded and lacks the funding to hire additional qualified personnel.