Poor roads and stolen signs anger Marion County residents

Poor roads and stolen signs anger Marion County residents

March 5th, 2012 Ryan Lewis/Correspondent in News

Neil Webb, Marion County Highway Department's Assistant Superintendent, walks past a washed-out portion of Sequatchie Mountain Road outside of Jasper in this file photo.

Photo by Leigh Shelle Hunt

JASPER, Tenn. -- Some Marion County residents living near South Pittsburg, Tenn., are demanding county administrators address a laundry list of concerns.

Last week, residents of the Jackson Point Road, Old Sewanee Road and Stagecoach Road area approached the Marion County Commission for help.

Resident Sindy Spore pleaded with the commission to help with the "severe" problems the area has been experiencing. She said the area's roads are in horrible condition and street signs and stop signs have "disappeared."

Each road has areas with sinkholes, road separation and places where two vehicles cannot pass, Spore said. Logging trucks have caused much of the damage, she said.

"Something desperately needs to be done," Spore said. "Someone is going to be killed. This is no longer a joke. If you don't know those roads, somebody is going to be killed because there are no signs."

In an attempt to solve the sign problem, residents recently moved boulders into position and painted street names on them.

"Someone has come in and either took or smashed the boulders so you don't even know what the roads are anymore," Spore said.

Commissioner Tommy Thompson said vanishing street signs has been a countywide problem for many years.

"Welcome to the county with those signs," he said. "It's no fault of the Road Department people. We have wasted numerous dollars time and time again. [The signs] won't stay up for two or three days [before someone takes them]."

Spore said hunters also are a major problem, even though the area is considered residential.

"We have hunters that are right outside our bathroom window," she said. "To me, that's not good."

Officials said the logging trucks and the hunting issues are problems that the state must address because the officials involved are state employees.

Spore disputed that.

"When I call the state, they refer me back to the county I live in," Spore said. "We've talked to [the state] many, many times. We feel like orphans. We feel like we've been completely abandoned."

Commissioner Donald Blansett said he will set up a meeting with concerned residents, county commissioners from District 1 and District 2, the local game warden, the Marion County Highway Department and the Tennessee Department of Safety to discuss the situation.

"We'll sit down with these organizations and see if we can't get some help out there," he said.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com.