Benton County Residents Want Promised Blacktop Road

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After months of voicing their complaints, neighbors finally got to speak with Benton County Judge Bob Clinard about their county road on Wednesday.

Last September residents of Blueberry Lane in Lowell said they were promised a blacktop road.

“Because of our meeting September 12, 2011, Cooper along with Blueberry Lane was promised a black top road," said resident Tamie Waterhouse.

But just last week the county laid a chip and seal road. Chip and seal is different from a blacktop road. It is mixture of rock and oil, and neighbors don't like it.

“This chip and seal. This isn't even a descent chip and seal. You didn't talk about anything at the end of the road that wasn't fixed at all,” one Blueberry Lane resident told the judge.

Clinard responded, “I've already asked the question. They ran out of oil is what I've heard."

People in this neighborhood want an answer as to why the promise hasn't been fulfilled.

“We need blacktop on this road,” Waterhouse said.

“Why?” Clinard asked.

“You promised it," Waterhouse said. "That's the integrity that I'm talking about. Your integrity and the integrity of Benton County."

And for the last year homeowners say they've tried to get answers.

“We're on the phone every day. All day we are running around, all day going places to places and being lied to lied to lied to,” said resident Debbie Reed.

“We started getting excuses like we are not on the list. We are out of the budget. The whole road department went under a whole employee change," added Waterhouse.

And residents here even started a petition asking for Clinard to stick to his commitment to blacktop this road.

“There's no road in the county that is guaranteed to be blacktopped or this or that we try to do it what we think is the right thing to do for the situation," Clinard said.

Clinard said he would fix the road but doesn't remember a promise to blacktop the road.

"I'm not going to say what I said or didn't say," he said. "You said you remember it your way; I don't remember what I said."

Clinard also said it costs twice as much to blacktop a road then to apply the chip and seal process.

“I'm sure that there are a lot of folks in this county and other parts of the county that think we should get there sooner, but we got 1,500 miles of road in this county (and) 750 miles are either paved or chip and sealed," Clinard said. “We don't have the money to get to all the roads all the time, and we just do the best we can with the budget we have."

But some in the neighborhood say since chip and seal was applied the value of their property has gone down.

“And for me it's hard enough at the moment when property values are less than they were a few years ago but to have this added on is just too much," resident Mary Sutton said.

Even though the chip and seal job was not finished, Clinard said he will have to think about what the county is going to do on Blueberry Lane.

He later told 5NEWS the county would repair a few minor problem spots on the road, then apply an additional sealant, which would darken the appearance of the road, and return in the spring to assess the road's condition.   

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