By REBECCA HAZEN
County Road 6, also known as White Oak Gap Road, has been under construction since November, and remains on schedule to be finished sometime in February or early March, weather dependent.
According to County Executive Ted Rumley, County Road 6 used to be a part of the state highway. Over the years it started sliding. The state said they were going to close it and not put any more money into it.
Commissioner Dan Hall, who was the sole commissioner of Dade County at the time, realized how important the road was for the people living on Sand Mountain. The road was deeded to the county.
“But the road was never really fixed,” Rumley said. “It was patched over the years. There were places where the asphalt, when we pulled it out, was like four feet deep.”
Rumley added, “It was like a time capsule. You could see every layer from 1960, from when the road was taken over in the 60s.”
The upper part of County Road 6, which Rumley said was the worst part, was fixed a few years ago.
“We finally decided to shut it down, and we went in and found the problem,” Rumley said.
There was loose soil causing the sliding, as well as underground water from further up the mountain coming in underneath.
“We dug it all out. It’s not a patch. This is a fix,” Rumley said.
Construction on the road also includes building a wall, to help prevent future sliding.
Workers started working on the road in November.
Rumley noted that they contracted the work for the construction in-house. The county has hired Wallin Drilling Shop, located in Trenton,
“[Wallin Drilling] has saved us so much money by doing it. There are only a few people like him in the United States who can drill a four foot hole down 40-50 feet,” Rumley said.
The construction is being paid for by Special Local Options Sales Tax (SPLOST) funds.
“We did it in house like this because we have a lot of talented people who work in and for the county. We saved so much money by doing it that way. If we had bid it out, it would have been up over $1,000,000. We hope to come in somewhere around $300,000. We will know more toward the end,” Rumley said.
There are a few residential houses on County Road 6. People who live there can’t travel the length of the road, but they can enter and leave each end of the road, depending on where they reside.
The construction is on schedule, and Rumley noted that the only thing that could change the schedule is weather.
“We are doing the best we can. We want people to understand that this is not a patch. We can’t just go in there for a day and patch it over, knowing that in a month’s time we would have to go right back out there,” Rumley said.
Rumley continued, “Normally I would have waited until summer to do it, but it was an emergency. It was dropping. You could almost measure it every day. Say that we had lost it and if it had all slid off the mountain, we would have had to close it down for about six months to a year. We would have had to start over,”
“That road is really a main artery, a lot of people miss it,” Rumley said.