CHUNCHULA, Ala. (WPMI) A group of people in Chunchula are beyond frustrated. They live on a private dirt road full of potholes, hills and valleys.
The conditions on the road get so bad, especially when it rains, it's often difficult for delivery trucks, mailmen even ambulances to get through. County officials say legally their hands are tied. State law prohibits Mobile County from spending money on private property.
But there is a loophole, a law that allows the county to take over private roads. It can be a very lengthy process though and a lot of leg work and money from the property owners goes into making it happen.
Whenever 87-year-old Dan Lolley has to make a trip to the grocery store he knows he's in for a bumpy ride. But bumpy is only half the issue for folks living on Army Road Extension South in Chunchula.
"The biggest problem is when it rains, the getting in and getting out is difficult because the mud holes are so deep. And even when you drive your car through them the water comes up inside of your car," said another resident Lamar Lovett.
During last week's heavy rainfall, the situation got so bad that their mailman couldn't deliver mail for days.
"My main concern is my bills. That's the way I get my bills, through the mail," said Lolley.
The dirt road is a private road, meaning it's the property owner's responsibility to maintain it. But most of the people that live on Army Road Ext. S are elderly.
"I had an old tractor with a box blade and I used to try to keep it up where it was passable all the time. And I think I did a pretty good job. But, I've just gotten too old and my tractor has gotten too old and I'm not able to repair it," said Lolley.
Lolley and his son desperately want the county to take over the road. They've been pleading with commissioners for years
"I started going to them in 1993 and I carried several petitions in but I just quit. I just gave up," said Lolley.
According to a law that was amended four years ago, the county can accept private dirt roads for maintenance, as long as the road was established before 1984 and as long as every property owner is on board. Property owners must also pay for driveway drainage piping and pay for relocation of utilities.
"It would even be great if somebody would just get us some dirt in here. We'd manage some way to get it spread," said Lolley.
The first step to signing a private road over to the county is filling out a petition that must be picked up at the county office. County officials say it's their understanding that a previous petition filed for Army Road Extension South didn't have enough.