Red Road residents are being left in the dust. The city’s paving project has been put on hold while the company hired for the project works elsewhere.
“Enough is enough,” said Red Road resident Ben Parker. “This has gone on way too long. My wife is on oxygen. We have two air conditioners going because of the heat. They suck the dust right into the house. It’s awful.”
Red Road is in poor condition. It was one of 51 streets designated by city officials to be paved. The streets were divided into two paving projects, that being fall 2011 and spring 2012, with Red Road being scheduled for this spring.
Red Road is in such bad shape because McMinnville Water and Sewer Department made improvements to underground lines prior to paving. This caused pavement to be replaced by large patches of gravel in what was supposed to be a short-term inconvenience.
“In the 30 years we’ve lived here, we’ve never seen anything like this,” said Parker. “The city comes through and they wet it down. It’s not working. Dust is everywhere and something needs to be done about it. They need to go ahead and pave.”
According to Public Works assistant director Brad Hennessee, there is no end in sight for the dust.
“APAC, the company hired to do the city’s street paving project, has one paving crew,” Hennessee said. “Right now, that crew is in Knoxville. They won’t move the crew until they are finished in Knoxville. We called them when they didn’t begin paving in May and that’s what we were told.”
With no word on when APAC’s crew will make its way back to McMinnville, the department requested some hot mix from the business to place on the street. Hot mix is used for asphalt patching. It is shoveled onto an area and flattened with a steamroller.
“Hot mix would get rid of the dust, so we did request it,” said Hennessee. “We were told they aren’t making hot mix right now, and they won’t fire the machinery up for what little we need. If they were to get a large order from somewhere, that would justify them starting their equipment.”
The deadlock has left residents literally in the dust. Hennessee says the only option for the city is to apologize for the delay and keep checking on the status of hot mix.
“We go over there on a regular basis to spray the area with water, but that’s only a temporary fix,” he said. “Once it dries, the dust is back. It’s just a big dusty mess over there and I feel for the people who have to live in it. All we can do at this point is to keep checking on getting some hot mix.”
Once paving does begin, the remaining streets will be complete in two to three weeks. Red Road is atop the list.
That would please Parker, who says his wife has medical issues that are being exacerbated by the amount of dust.
“She just got out of the hospital with pneumonia and the doctors said it could be related to the amount of dust that’s making its way into the house,” he said. “CNAs come to the house to help with her. They don’t stay long, but their cars are covered with dust before they leave.”