Relief is in sight for people in Bullock County who have been dealing with rough roads for years. On County Road 177, bridges got so bad, school buses couldn’t cross them. Last month, though, workers began making repairs on those bridges.
"We’ve been working on it for the last three or four years, trying to get that done, but as you know, money’s tight and Bullock County has to come up with a 20 percent match on these projects too,” said Alonza Ellis, County Commissioner for district four, who has been working to get funding for the project.
For three years, parents have been taking their children down the road to a local church to wait for bus pickup. Martis Penn, who drives a Bullock County school bus, says it’s been a problem. “Children are having to stand out in the weather, in the rain, when we bring them back from school, if we’re late, the parents are having to wait,” he said.
He says it’s a relief to see repairs underway. “We’re ecstatic. Work has started over there, and it seems like, you know, the bridge is going to be fixed, we’re excited about the future,” said Penn.
The change won’t come cheap. The total cost of the project is just over $700,000. Ellis says that’s been a challenge, because the county doesn’t raise enough in tax revenue to cover the project. The state has awarded special grants to help with the costs, but the county will still have to provide some of the funding, according to the county engineer.
In total, six bridges in the county will be getting makeovers. County officials say bridge repairs should be completed in about a month. They say school buses should be able to cross them again after the Christmas break.