Petition: Pave Prestwood Bridge Road
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Theresa Richerson is on a mission.
She intends to find somebody, somewhere, who can help her get Prestwood Bridge Road paved.
This past weekend, she and her husband, Otis Richerson, stood in the sun for 12 hours near the spot where the pavement ends, holding signs and asking people to sign their petition.
“We were there from 12 to 4 Friday, and we stayed from 8 ‘til 5 Saturday,” Mrs. Richerson said. “We’ll probably go back this Friday if the weather’s good.”
For their efforts, they collected 141 signatures.
“Most everybody has been supportive,” Mrs. Richerson said. “They said, ‘Thank you, we appreciate what you’re doing.’ They thought is was one of main roads and really needed it.”
Mrs. Richerson said neither she nor her neighbors like to go to town, because the road is so bumpy.
“We when moved down here, our truck didn’t have one rattle,” she said. “Not the tail lights are about to fall out.”
She has a brand new car at home, but rarely drives it.
“Just because of this road,” she said. “We go fives miles out of our way to go to River Falls. When you pay 20K for a vehicle, tearing it up is the last thing you want to do.”
Mrs. Richerson, who has lived on the road for almost nine years, said she has long been an advocate for paving the road. When she heard a television news report in which Gov. Robert Bentley talked about using proceeds of the BP Oil spill settlement to pave roads in South Alabama, she was inspired.
“I said if that is the case, ours is one of the No. 1 roads that needs to be paved,” she said. “So I set down at my desk and wrote a letter. I told the governor that the county always tells us they don’t have the funding. I told him if he was sending funding (from the BP settlement), then they need to pave it.”
In her letter, she wrote, “Our road is Prestwood Bridge Road and it is dirt for six miles and it is one of the most traveled roads in Covington County. The county says they do not have the funds to properly maintain this road. So I am writing to ask for your help in getting this six miles paved.
“We invite you to come take a drive down our road then you will understand why we are asking you for help to get our road paved.”
Mrs. Richerson said she received a response from the governor, who told her he had forwarded her letter to the Alabama Department of Transportation.
“He gave me a phone number, and said to feel free to contact him,” she said.
Meanwhile, she has been talking with Commissioner Kyle Adams, who took office earlier this year.
“He is one of the nicest commissioners,” she said. “Before, we could never could get a response, but he was the nicest man he could possibly be. He told me how to get on the agenda.”
She is scheduled to appear on the commission’s agenda on Oct. 12 at 8:30 a.m. She handed an announcement to each of the 141 people who signed the petition, and asked them to join her.
“So far, quite a few have said they are going to be there,” she said.
A few people have told her it’s not likely she’ll have any success.
“I’m kinda headstrong,” she said. “Some say I ain’t gonna get nowhere. Well, I’m not gonna back off, neither. I’m going to find somebody, somewhere who might help us.”
Between now and Oct. 12, she intends to conduct a census to determine how many residences are affected by the condition of the road.
“The county grades it, but two days later, it’s back in the same shape,” she said.
Mrs. Richerson expressed her appreciation to her neighbor,
“He came out there three times Saturday to help us,” she said. “He’s a big help, and I want him mentioned with us.”
The commission is currently considering a resolution requiring future commissions to set aside funds with which to pave dirt roads. A vote could come at the October meeting at which the Richersons plan to speak.