Harrison Co residents want all of Wallace-Saucier Road paved - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Harrison Co residents want all of Wallace-Saucier Road paved

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HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

Homeowners living off Wallace-Saucier Road in Harrison Co. have been trying for 14 years to have their section of the road paved with blacktop. They say the road is difficult to drive when it rains.

Pat and Will Cuevas live at the end of Wallace-Saucier Road off Highway 53. The first mile and a half is public, and paved. The area where the Cuevas's live is a private road with seven homes along the dirt and gravel road that runs a half a mile.

Pat said she talked with her county supervisor in 1998 and started a petition asking the county to take over that section.

"Well, we got 17 signatures stating that this road is not a private road," Pat Cuevas said. "It is indeed a county road and after we got the signatures they took it before the board and the Board of Supervisors adopted it."

Cuevas said the county brought in truck loads of gravel and maintained the road for years. Four or five years ago, the county made plans to pave and widen all of Wallace Saucier Road, believing it was under the county domain. But the county quickly abandoned that idea.

"As soon as one of the property owners, Loretta Ladner, got wind that they were going to blacktop it, she went and hired an attorney," Cuevas stated.

Harrison County Attorney Tim Holleman confirms two of the residents, Loretta Ladner and her brother, Woullard Shaw, presented a deed showing they own a section of the road and did not want their private road paved or widened.

"The U.S. mail comes down here, the garbage truck and also the school bus and it's only to every ones benefit that this road is paved," said Cuevas. "I mean, it's just a win-win situation. The mail truck told me if the road is not maintained properly, that she was going to quit coming down here."

The county attorney said the land owners had to give permission for the mail, garbage truck and school bus to drive on the private road.

Since the county stopped maintaining the road, Will Cuevas said he began using his tractor to keep the road passable.

"Every time it rains, it would be a lot of water holes and stuff in there," Cuevas said. "I try to grade it to keep it nice for people to get in and out. And I go all the way to the blacktop and try to service it for everybody."

Woullard Shaw, one of the owners of the dirt road, didn't want to be interviewed on camera. But he told WLOX News he gave the Harrison County School Board permission to have the school bus drive over their road to drop off the students.

Bus driver Janie Hedrick told us the unpaved portion of Wallace Saucier Road is difficult and sometimes dangerous.

"Yes it is," Hedrick said, "and it's hard to backup. Don't have much room to back this big old bus up. All the bumps and everything. Yeah, it needs to be cleared up. All the logs and limbs, it scratches it. It's so close in. So, yeah, it would be a big improvement."

It's unlikely the bus driver or Pat and Will Cuevas will see Wallace Saucier Road paved anytime soon. The county said the road does not meet the requirements to be declared a public roadway.

The county could pave the section used by the school bus to turn around, with permission from the land owners. Pat and Will Cuevas own that area and told WLOX News they're willing to give the county approval to blacktop the bus turnaround.

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