“We Are Not Asking For It To Be The Taj Mahal”: Residents Want Help Fixing Crumbling Road

VAN BUREN (KFSM) -- For 14 years, Marty Walker has watched as East Northbrook road in Van Buren has crumbled apart.

Walker said he has called the county several times for service, but they haven’t done much to fix it.

“We don't want to sit there and wait until we all get trapped in there,” Walker said.

East Northbrook is a dead end road, so it leaves people like Walker with no alternative routes to get in and out of his home. Postal and school bus routes also travel on that road.

5NEWS brought Walker’s concerns to those in charge of county roads. In this case, Crawford County Judge Dennis Gilstrap is one of the primary decision makers.

When asked if he saw the road as a public safety concern right now, Gilstrap said, “At this time, I don't really see it."

He did see how the road could become a problem in the future. However, his hands are tied when it comes to providing help.

Primarily, that’s because sections of East Northbrook are privately-owned and others are owned by the county. Walker lives on the privately owned portion. Therefore, Gilstrap said residents must make road repairs on their own dime and bring the road up to county standards for it to be accepted into the system.

However, Walker said this isn’t even an option for many who live on East Northbrook.

"We are going to get a lot of people and say I can't afford it,” said Walker. "They’re on Social Security."

And just like the residents, Judge Gilstrap said the county can’t afford to make repairs right now.

They have 1,200 miles of road to maintain on a budget of about $5 million, with dozens of employees’ salaries included in that budget.

“We are not asking for it to be the Taj Mahal, just so it doesn't cave in," explained Walker. “Where do we go from here?"

We also reached out to the real estate developer in Fort Smith that owns the private section of East Northbrook.  A K&C Properties representative told 5NEWS they never told residents they’d maintain the roads forever.