Residents living on Grubbs Road north of Sealy are tired of the condition of the beat-up, patched-up, pothole-prone stretch of road.
They’re also tired of complaining about it, something they say they’ve been doing for decades with little result.
“The road’s worse now than it’s ever been all my life and I’m 48 years old,” said Darren Brandes.
Brandes and several of his neighbors who live on Grubbs Road recently gathered at his house to talk about their frustrations with the road and the response from the county to properly repair it.
“There’s no ‘until,’ they say never. I don’t think there’s even a plan to fix the road,” said Benn Copeland.
County Commissioner Mark Lamp represents the precinct responsible for maintenance of the road.
“It boils down to dollars and cents,” Lamp said, adding that there isn’t nearly enough money in the budget to pay for all the paving that needs to be done in the county.
“It cost $55,000 just to sealcoat it and $100,000 a mile to pave a road,” he said.
Lamp said his first priority is replacing 10 bridges in Precinct 1, including one over Mill Creek that Grubbs Road passes over. He said it makes no sense to fix the road just to have it torn up again when the bridge is replaced either later this year or early next year.
“There’s a bunch of roads like that in this precinct,” Lamp said.
He said his wife often gets on his case about the condition of the road they live on because it’s as bad or worse as Grubbs Road. Lamp said he feels fortunate that after three significant floods that
all the roads in his precinct are passable and people can drive on them to get where they need to go.
That’s not good enough for Brandes and his neighbors who said they are tired of paying taxes for an inadequate road on top of a small fortune in auto repairs.
“The suspension is worn out on most everything I’m driving,” said Ross Carpenter.
Several complained about worn suspensions, blown tires, cracked dashboards and other damage to their vehicles they say is directly related to the condition of the road.
“It’s a safety issue,” said Brandes, whose uncle is Sheriff Jack Brandes.
Darren Brandes appeared in commissioners court three weeks ago to complain about the condition of the road and he said he’s ready to go back again and present the county with about $4,000 in receipts for repairs to his vehicles.
Shortly after he made his complaint some of the deeper potholes on the road were filled in. Several of the neighbors have pooled their resources and made their own repairs.
“Every single hole that we fixed is still holding up because we did it right,” said Mason Brandes.
Lamp said one of the reasons he ran for county commissioner two and a half years ago was to take on road repairs. He said it is a slow process that has to be done incrementally with the limited budget each commissioner has to work with. He said to rush out and keep patching roads is not the way to do things. He said bridges must come first, followed by roads on a priority system.
“It’s OK to complain,” he said, “but you need to be part of the solution.”
He said as he works his plan he will continue to patch roads as necessary to keep them passable and will then pave them as it becomes practical.