People living along “private” road in Bedford County forced to repair and maintain it

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BEDFORD COUNTY (WSLS 10) – Dozens of people living along what is classified as a private roadway in Bedford County say they want help maintaining it.

Old Firetrail Road has been in bad condition for years, but continues to be used by public traffic, and now neighbors say logging trucks are causing more problems.

People living on Old Firetrail Road brought a petition to the county last March with more than 60 signatures, asking for something to be done about the road.

Now, logging trucks are driving up and down the road on a daily basis, and neighbors say, it’s only making the problem worse.

Dennis Robinson says he had a first-hand encounter with one of those trucks just this week.

“Yesterday, I was trying to get into town, had to wait about 15 minutes because the road was blocked. It was so muddy down there that they had to get a bulldozer and pull the 18-wheeler off the road,” said Robinson.

Robinson says, trucks getting stuck on Old Firetrail Road is nothing new, but the road’s condition really affected him earlier this year when he had a medical emergency.

“My wife called the ambulance, and it was a little over an hour before they got here, and I couldn’t move and I was scared out of my mind,” said Robinson.

That story scared other residents, like Hugh Brown, who has spine and knee issues.

“Being disabled makes it very hard to get in and out of here,” said Brown.

VDOT says the road has to be improved before it can be brought into the state system.

“There’s about an early estimate of 800 thousand to a million dollars worth of improvements that would have to be made to bring that road up to that standard,” said VDOT Spokesperson Jason Bond.

Bond says through a revenue-sharing program, VDOT could pay half.

The rest would have to come from Bedford County or the people living on Old Firetrail.

In a statement, County Attorney Patrick Skelly said quote “Historically, the County of Bedford has required the landowners to come up with the 50 percent stake themselves.”

We asked Brown, who lives off of Social Security, if he thought that could happen.

“Impossible. The residents don’t have it,” said Brown.

Not only do they not have it, many don’t feel like it’s their responsibility.

“It’s a public road, but we have to privately maintain it, and we have to pay all the money, and we have to put the rock on the road, just for it to be ruined when it rains or something and everyone decides they want to drive through it,” said Amy Vinson, who also lives on Old Firetrail.

In the meantime, Robinson says, even a small commitment of minor maintenance from Bedford County would ease his concern.

“It’s just kind of a scary situation,” said Robinson.

With snow in the forecast this weekend, and with no help in sight from the state or the county, people living on Old Firetrail say they’ve already laid gravel down in the hopes that, once the weather’s finished, the road will still be passable.

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