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Drivers getting a pain from ash roads
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Effingham County commissioners said they are looking at what to do next when it comes to the county’s roads.

Commissioners and county staff have received numerous complaints on the condition of the ash roads across the county, particularly those that don’t drain well.

“It’s a nightmare to live on an ash road,” Rosanne Brant said. “I want to know what can be done or will be done to get rid of the ash?”

Brant and her husband Greg live on Green Morgan School Road, one of many unpaved roads in the county that get treated with ash. But the Brants said that ash, during times of wet weather, is a nuisance.

“It was just resurfaced about two months ago,” Rosanne Brant said.

Commission Chairman Dusty Zeigler voiced his own complaints about the ash roads — since he lives on one.

“You’re not the only folks that are having these issues,” he said. “It’s very prevalent.”

Zeigler said there has been damage to his own vehicle as he travels on Millpond Road.

“In retrospect, it seems putting ash on roads was a bad idea,” he said. “It was free. It was experimental. Maybe we shouldn’t have experimented so much.

“I can’t say for sure we’ll pick it all up. But we do know it’s an issue and that we’re going to have to tackle it pretty darn quick.”

Rosanne Brant said one of her big aggravations was the amount of money spent by the county “to do the exact same thing that I knew wasn’t going to work.”

The Brants have been living on their road for 15 years and said they have to use a pressure washer to keep their vehicles clean because of the ash.

“We hate to see the money keep getting wasted,” Greg Brant said. “Anything is better than this ash.”

For more than eight years, the county has gotten tons of ash from Georgia-Pacific, a remainder from its boilers, to put on its unpaved roads. Using the ash was seen as cheaper and easier than traditional paving with asphalt.

“Part of the problem is what to do with all this ash,” Zeigler said.

The Brants said the ash, when it gets on their vehicles, dries and adheres to their vehicles like concrete.

“I think the ultimate solution is to get the ash up,” Greg Brant said. “I don’t see anything else you can do on top of ash that would work. We need to do something better than what we’re doing. We’re wasting money.”

Roads in low-lying areas or areas that don’t drain as well are having the greatest problem with the ash treatment, County Administrator David Crawley said.

“At this point, I’m not sure there is much of a solution,” he said. “There are some roads in the county that are just fine. There may be certain sections of road we replace.”

Commissioner Myra Lewis said OMI, the county’s public works contractor, has tried to address those calls on ash roads promptly.

But which roads with ash have it removed and when that happens is something the county still has to look at, Zeigler said. The topic was broached at the countywide transportation board

“It’s on our radar,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll make some decisions in the near future. In my opinion, the experiment is over.”