Hoping for repairs to their roadway, ditch lines and culverts, residents of Black Bottom, located in city of Loyall and the county, are asking both entities for support in making their community safe.
Charlie Cooper, who resides on Central Street in Black Bottom, said the road has pot holes and is crumbling off the edges.
“The road is unsafe, especially for school buses,” said Cooper. “The road is so narrow and with the sides deteriorating, the wheels of any vehicle could easily slip off and cause a driver to lose control. The Black Bottom area seems to have always been neglected. I’d sure like to see some work done on it.”
While visiting his wife Tammy’s parents, Marvin and Pat Jeffers who live on Main Street in Black Bottom, Rick Simpson said a stop sign coming off Airport Road onto Black Bottom is no longer visible because of overgrown weeds. He said this is a dangerous situation and could cause a serious accident.
“We travel the area on a regular basis to visit my in-laws and there are pot holes all the way down the road,” said Simpson. “There’s no place to pull off to pass traffic. It’s a one-lane road mostly. Someone needs to at least fix the holes and try to widen the road if possible. And, if not, at least put some places where you can get off the road to pass instead of having to back your vehicle up for yards looking for a wide place. The road is unsafe. If someone is driving too fast it could easily become a head on collision and someone could be killed.”
Marvin Jeffers, 69, said he and his wife have lived in Black Bottom for the past six years.
“The road needs work, especially around Church Street,” said Jeffers. “County inmates have been cutting the weeds in the area, which helps some with visibility. They cut them about three times a summer and we sure do appreciate that. Even though part of Black Bottom is city and part is county, we’d sure like to see someone help us with this situation. The county has done most of the work over here and we are so grateful. We’d be in really bad shape if the county didn’t help us from time to time.”
Jeffers added with recent heavy rains in the county, ditch lines overflowed and culverts stopped up from neglect, resulting in serious flooding in the Black Bottom area and roadways to be “washed out.”
“I drove through water up to my bumper in the road near Church Street recently,” said Jeffers. “We have to get out. I don’t know what the problem is, probably money, but we sure need our road worked on.”
Trenna Cornett, who lives in Black Bottom on Church Street and is a member of the Loyall City Council, said during the last heavy rainfall the county experienced the culvert near her home couldn’t carry the water and had washed big rocks down, stopping the culvert up and causing water “to shoot up like a geyser” across her driveway.
“A tremendous amount of my driveway was washed out and it’s blacktop,” said Cornett. “The lane over next to me on Central Street, is horrible. My niece lives there and it washed the street out all the way down to the main roadway. The next street, Walnut, it’s bad too. The old house where my mom and dad lived on Main Street, water has actually washed the foundation lose. This has been going on for awhile.”
Cornett said the city of Loyall has a lot of road problems, the need for blacktop and road repairs.
“We have a bad ditch problem over here in Black Bottom. The ditches are just not carrying the water,” said Cornett. “The culverts are just not big enough. The ditches actually drain underneath the railroad yard into the lagoon. I found out there weren’t any culverts originally, but old railroad tiles and some have fallen in.”
Cornett wanted to assure residents in Black Bottom they’re not being neglected” because there are problems throughout the city.”
“We’d appreciate any and all help we can get from the county,” said Cornett.
After speaking with Harlan County Road Supervisor Marvin Goins, he said if state funds doesn’t become available to help make repairs, then “no doubt the county will have to make repairs to damaged roads throughout the county.”
“We’ll make the necessary repairs,” said Goins. “We may have to do it under a contract basis with a contractor, but at Black Bottom we have to contact the railroad and make all the right preparations before we begin. We can’t just come in there and start digging, especially where the railroad is involved. They won’t allow it. It’s not the county’s intention for anyone to suffer and drive on unsafe roadways. We will get it repaired.”
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510, ext. 115, firstname.lastname@example.org