Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

July 10, 2014

Driving dirt roads

VALDOSTA — “You get your hands in it plant your roots in it

Dusty head lights dance with your boots in it (dirt)

You write your name on it, spin your tires on it

Build your corn field, whiskey

Bonfires on it (dirt)

You bet your life on it”

Seems only appropriate that a band named Florida Georgia Line would release a song called “Dirt” — with a lyric quoted above — on the same day that the Lowndes County Commission unanimously voted to spend more than $205,000 of SPLOST VII funding on the paving of dirt roads.

But as the world heard the country band’s latest Tuesday, Lowndes residents learned county officials will allocate these funds for the surveying, engineering, and paving of Zipperer, Boring Pond and Coppage roads.

The condition of the county’s dirt roads has long been a beef of many area residents. Through the years, comments to The Times’ Rant & Raves have ranged from concerns about the muddy conditions of dirt roads in periods of heavy rain to the regularity of grading to the wear-and-tear inflicted on vehicles.

County commissioners’ efforts to pave these roads are commendable. These roads have long needed improving and paving should do the job.

Yet, even with these roads paved, there are still other county roads that remain dirt with no changes planned for the foreseeable future.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the City of Valdosta embarked on a push to pave all of the roads within the city limits. The city made this endeavor a priority and succeeded.

It is tempting to say the county should consider a similar goal, but the price tag of the current road project underscores that such a proposal is easier said than done.

There are more dirt roads in the county now than there were within the city 25 years ago. Some of these dirt roads lead to sparsely populated areas. Proposing to pave all of the county roads may be like building a bridge to nowhere, but earmarking the roads that need paving is a move in the right direction.

In the end, like the Florida Georgia Line song suggests, a South Georgia county needs a few dirt roads just to remind us of our roots, but some folks could use a little more pavement for a safer and more convenient trip home.

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