Bays Bend Road residents left to languish in mud and potholes

SCOTTSVILLE, Ky.- Floyd Smith’s propane tank is almost empty, which means the heat will be going out soon in his home on Bays Bend Road in Allen County.

The road to his house is in such bad condition that the propane delivery service cannot come to refill the tank. 

“I’m low on propane, and I don’t know if the other people use propane up here either but Southern States won’t come up here and fill this with a road like it is. It’s gonna take a bulldozer to get them up here,” Smith said.

Smith is a disabled veteran and worries about himself and his neighbors. Six other families live on the street that has only one entrance and exit. The road is inches deep in mud, riddled with large holes and impassable to most vehicles. 

“This is the worst, worst I’ve ever seen it,” said resident Chris Owens. 

“I was the first one on the hill. And it’s getting worse every year. So we need to get it fixed,” said resident James Hopkins. 

The treacherous hill makes simple daily tasks such as going to the grocery store or doctor’s office nearly impossible.

“The UPS, they can’t make deliveries up here. Of course the mail, they won’t come up here. There used to be kids up here. They had to go all the way to the end of the road because the bus refused to come up it,” said Owens. 

The narrow mud road is so undriveable that for some residents like Smith they fear it could mean the difference in life or death. 

“In case of a fire, if one of these trailers catches on fire, 15 minutes if the fire department ain’t here the trailers are gonna be gone. Someone has a heart attack, they’re gonna die. Let’s just put it plain and simple, that’s just the way it is,” said Smith. 

The road used to be a county road but is now a private road meaning residents are responsible for maintaining the unpaved, dirt road. But the residents who live on this road are hoping for help from the county.

County judge executive Dennis Harper says the road was never considered a county road. The land was developed before the planning commission mandated about 20 years ago that subdivisions had to meet certain standards. The road got through on a grandfather clause, and Harper says no one is happy about it. 

The road was not built to county specifications and by the county’s ordinance they aren’t allowed to accept it into the county’s road system until it is fixed into their specifications. 

Harper said if the road is brought up to county standards, it would be adopted into their system and they would be able to maintain it. But it would be costly. 

“Ideal situation would be for the developer to own up to this problem and take care of this for them. But we have no legal stance to make that happen. And I hate that for the residents, I feel for them, I know they’ve had this problem ongoing since I’ve been involved in this district and it’s not a good situation for them and I feel for them. And I wish there was something we could do but it is illegal to spend county tax dollars on private roads.” 

Harper said the specifications include that the road must be 20 feet across, there must be six inches of gravel on the surface, and ditches on each side.