12 News Defenders: The Ugliest Roads in Montgomery - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

12 News Defenders: The Ugliest Roads in Montgomery

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Are you tired of bumpy, poorly patched roads? They can damage your car not to mention your pride in your neighborhood.

So the 12 News Defenders are on pavement patrol! We asked you to tell us on social media about the ugliest roads in town. Then we went to the city to smooth over some answers.

"The roads are dilapidated," one driver told us.

"There are so many cracks in the streets," said another. "The roads are really bumpy."

As for where the bumps are, most drivers tend to agree that the worst streets are in the older parts of town.

"Generally, the west side of Montgomery experiences the worst roads," said one woman.

Norman Bridge Road came up a lot on Facebook. When we checked it out, sure enough, there were patches everywhere. On one stretch, the pavement is so uneven, you're almost driving sideways.

Road width was also a common complaint. Drivers say streets like Federal Drive are too narrow to include multiple lanes.

"You're driving six inches away from the car next to you. You have no room for error," one driver told us.

And then,  there are the streets that have been paved so many times -- like Fairview Avenue -- that the curb has all but disappeared underneath the asphalt.

The city of Montgomery does keep track of road conditions. The 12 News Defenders found there are actually more than 250 miles of roadway that need to be re-paved right now. The problem is, there's not enough money to do it all.

The debate over which streets get the resources has been the focus of recent city council meetings.

"There's always been a list of poorly rated streets and they've been behind for years," explained council president Charles Jinright.

Montgomery Public Works Director Chris Conway says the city has enough cash to pave only the poorest-rated roadways -- about 60 miles.

That means that only the worst of the worst -- like Norman Bridge Road -- will get facelifts.

Conway says the 60 miles of roadway rated the poorest will be paved within the next two years. Here's a list of the roads involved:

[DOCUMENT: List of all the roads involved and the plans for each (.pdf)]

The list does not include Norman Bridge Road or Court Street, but plans are in the works to have portions of those streets re-paved. Court Street also will be returned to two-way traffic south of I-85.

Some of the re-paving projects will take longer than others because of ongoing infrastructure improvement projects by the water and gas companies.

"What we do, when we cut a trench [in a road], we want to let it settle for a little bit, settle for about a year," explained Montgomery Water Works Director Buddy Morgan. "Then the city will go in and re-pave it and we'll pay for the asphalt."

That's right -- roads that are ripped up by the utilities aren't re-paved for one year.

As for the cosmetic problems -- like uneven lanes and those vanishing curbs -- the city only fixes them if it has to for drainage reasons.

"From our standpoint, we're most concerned about roadway drainage," said Conway. "The appearance is secondary, but also important."

The drivers we talked to say a road's appearance tells a story.

"I think it says the area is poor," said one.

"The streets reflect the neighborhood," said another.

They encourage the city to keep working to put all neighborhoods on a smooth, and level surface.

Copyright 2013 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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