Vancleave Residents Neighborhood In Danger Because Of Lack Of Road Access - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/09/05

Vancleave Residents Neighborhood In Danger Because Of Lack Of Road Access

"What has to happen here? Do we have to have a monumental tragedy before somebody snaps to it and realizes this is not the greatest place to ignore," Resident John Kowal says.

The place Kowal is talking about is Spring Lake Drive East in Vancleave.

It's a road that just one week ago was covered by five feet of water.

Since the road is the only access Kowal and his neighbors have to the outside world, when it floods, their community is isolated.

"There was nobody to get to us if we wanted them to, we are held captive in our own homes by mother nature and by a lack of another road." Kowal says,"Somewhere along the line someone needs to exercise a little bit of common sense and get us another egress."

Other residents wanting another egress are concerned Spring Lake Drive East isn't safe.

It's the only road connecting the neighborhood with Vancleave.

It's only one-lane, it's not paved, and with the water right next to it, a simple accident could become fatal.

"It's unsafe for traffic. It's only one way. We have no service to pick children up to go to school, they have to be carried across the dam. Then when the weather gets bad, that thing is slick and then it's very unsafe," Resident Bill Baria says.

Bill's wife Jan Baria worries about the road's condition in the case of an emergency.

"Since October I've taken him 5 times to the emergency room. Because of the safety matters we've been talking about. You do think about it, what if we need to go and we can't get out of here,:" Jan Baria says.

Bill Baria's also worried water erosion underneath the roadbed will eventually cause the road to cave in.

"Over a period of time, it'll eat a little more this time, next rain storm we have it'll eat a little bit more. One day it'll fall in," Bill Baria says.

"Somebody get on the stick; somebody do something," Kowal says.

Kowal says over the last four years, he's written many e-mails to county officials begging them to come up with a solution.

It seems the county is finally listening.

Jackson County Supervisor Manly Barton says county leaders have actually been working to solve the problem for the past few years.

He says surveyors are on the site right now, and if all goes well, a half-mile long road to the north will soon be built.

By Jaimee Goad

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