Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Slip

Almost two years ago a major chunk of road slipped over the hill not too far from my house. It wasn't a major road--just a one-lane tar-and-chip road that connected Joe's Run with Trace Fork Road. There are few houses along the road, and one would think traffic would be light.

But the road connected two communities; without the road, travelers had to drive 20 miles around, through town, a trip that took from 20 minutes to 40 minutes, depending on how far up Trace Fork you lived.

There were some strong connections between the two communities: Mt. Hope Church on top of the ridge was the place of worship for people on both sides of the ridge where the slip occurred. The mail route ran across the ridge, traveling from Sandyville up Trace Fork, and serving Joe's Run. The route had served these homes for many, many years--I read a history written by a former mail carrier that dated the route back into the 20's and 30's.

The ridge road was the shortcut to Ravenswood, the only other town in our county besides Ripley. People from Joe's Run worked and sometimes shopped or visited the doctors there. People from Trace Fork traveled the shortcut to get to Spencer, 50 miles around otherwise, but only 30 if you traveled across the ridge. During Fourth of July, travelers who wanted to avoid Ripley cut across the ridge.

For a quiet narrow little road through quiet country, the volume of traffic sounds surprising. In truth, probably no more that 20 cars traveled the road on any given day, if that many. But to those who relied on this alternative route, not to have it was an extreme inconvenience. Take the bus driver, who lived on one side of the slip, but drove the route on the other side. His solution was to use his four-wheeler to cut through the woods to the place where he parked his bus. Not ideal, especially in bad weather. But it's what he did.

Then the drillers came. Gas wells are still being drilled here; there are several in process right now. The drillers needed access to the water in the lake on Joe's Run. So although citizens had begged the state road to fix the slip--an expensive and extensive project--no action was taken, it seems, until the drillers needed to get to the water. Or is that just my cynical side showing? Maybe the project was already being planned? I have my doubts, since we heard that the post office was planning to change all of us on Joe's Run to another route so the mail carrier didn't have to take the long way around.

But look at the road now:

What a difference! Fixed at last, and even if it was done at the insistence of the drilling companies, we can once more travel the shortcut, see what's going on on Trace Fork--and keep our same address.


StitchinByTheLake said...

I know we shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth but I swear it's hard not to be cynical sometimes, isn't it? It seems that politicians listen more to the "company store" that to the folks that elected them to office. The good thing is you got your road! Blessings, marlene

Bubbasgotgas said...

Of course it was because the gas companies needed the access. Some one with influence is making money from the gas wells. The gas company goes to him and asks for a favor. Suddenly, with tax payer money the gas companies problems are fixed. It didn't matter that the tax payers needed the road fixed.

Anonymous said... looks like they widened it up a bit. It really doesn't even look like the same place. I love to ride country roads like this. So much to see!

Granny Sue said...

I didn't recognize the place when I saw it; it's so different. I can't wait for nature to take over and cover all that soil with green again. This road is also the alternate route if either Joe's Run or Trace Fork floods, so it wasn't just loss of convenience that made people upset that the road wasn't fixed. If we got flooded in, there was no other way to get out.

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