No money for Hammonton Road
Hammonton Road in Yuba County isn't getting any love from county supervisors, at least not in direct dollars to repair potholes, ruts and other hazards on the beleaguered foothills stretch.
Citing a lack of responsibility for the road, and more importantly, a lack of money to do anything, supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to leave the road as it is, while acknowledging residents there had a bad situation.
Public Works Director Mike Lee told supervisors those residents recently approached the county about doing something to the road, which is a public right of way, but not a county-maintained road.
As such, the board had three options:
• Leave Hammonton as is.
• Make it an official county road and spend money to upgrade it.
• Abandon it as a right of way.
The second option would require the county to spend about $1 million in improvements and $50,000 annually in maintenance, he said.
"The road fund just doesn't have that kind of money," Lee said.
But abandoning it would run counter to past practice, including Yuba County's support of lawsuits to keep the road open when aggregate mining companies operating there wanted it closed.
Freda Calvert, a longtime Hammonton Road resident, told the board they had a pressing issue because Hammonton is a main way for visitors, such as fly fishermen and off-roading enthusiasts, to access the Yuba River.
"The river is really the jewel of this community and this county," she said. "There's just so much talk and no action."
But supervisors said they weren't abandoning the issue, despite their vote. Supervisor Andy Vasquez said he had been in talks with the Smartsville Fire District about it assuming responsibility for Hammonton, with a county encroachment permit.
The fire district would benefit because an improved road would lead to improved response times, Vasquez said.
And acknowledging Calvert's comments about the road being a hub for recreational users, Supervisor Mary Jane Griego said there might be opportunities with state or federal funding to improve Hammonton.
"I think this is one added value, you know, that we can take up," she said.
But Supervisor Roger Abe said Griego's suggestion needed some careful consideration because money to improve the road would not probably translate into money to maintain the road.
"If you're talking $50,000 to do that, the road fund doesn't have that either," he said.
Still, Abe ultimately voted with the rest of the board, with one absent, to keep the road as it is while pursuing other funding options for improvements.
CONTACT Ben van der Meer at email@example.com or 749-4786. Find him on Facebook at /ADbvandermeer or on Twitter at @ADbvandermeer.