CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Clay County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday afternoon to discuss paving hundreds of miles of dirt roads, as well as roads that are falling into disrepair, especially in older neighborhoods such as Middleburg, Keystone Heights and Lake Asbury.
The goal is to have all roads smooth and paved, like the ones in the newer areas of Fleming Island and Oakleaf.
About 250 miles of roads in Clay County are still dirt, and another 120 miles are crumbling and could soon fail. The County Commission on Tuesday talked about what roads will get money first.
For many of the county's residents, being on a dirt road has become normal. On Indigo Circle in Middleburg, LaVelda Rupert has lived on an unpaved road since she moved there in 2000, waiting for asphalt that entire time.
"I guess we just watch and get grateful and hope ours is next. I've heard ours is next," Rupert said. "I hope so."
Rupert and her neighbors told News4Jax that they were thrilled to learn Indigo Circle is at the top of Clay County's list to get paved.
"That's great," George Doran said.
Doran won't have to wait as long as Rupert did. He closed on his house on Monday.
"That would be outstanding, having a paved road, for sure. I’m a city boy. My girlfriend is the country one. She likes the dirt roads. I think a paved road would be phenomenal," he said.
On Tuesday, the County Commission discussed providing $5 million to work on unpaved roads, but the vast majority of the money will go towards resurfacing paved roads that are crumbling.
"(We) have a lot of roads getting close to failing. If they get too close to deteriorating, we're going to have to rebuild the entire road. So what we're trying to do is concentrate on the maintenance on them first," said Commission Chairman Wayne Bolla.
Bolla said the board recently took a bus tour of the county, looking at the worst roads. He said newer neighborhoods, such as Oakleaf and Fleming Island, have newer roads, but everywhere else has roads that are decades old, or have remained dirt, which will cost a lot more to improve.
"To repave a dirt road takes a lot more in engineering and money than it does to do resurfacing first," Bolla said.
The commission's discussion is only about county roads. Larger roads such as U.S. 17 and Blanding Boulevard are kept up by the state.
For lists of the roads that the county is looking at resurfacing or paving, click here.