nfpa > NF Road Anti-paving Home > Brian Peck Letter, 24 Nov 99 HHN

Paving North Fork Road is unnecessary

To the editor,

In an Oct. 29 Daily Inter Lake article, we hear from County Roads Superintendent, Charlie Johnson that it may not be worth maintaining the North Fork Road; that the road is junk; that a recent maintenance project resulted in 12 flat and seven ruined tires on dump trucks; and that annual maintenance cost for the road is $30,000-70,000 per year. County Commissioner Dale Williams then chimes in that the first priority should be saving the six miles of pavement in. the Polebridge area, and then work back down the gravel stretch to Camas Creek, with the northern 20 miles being left as primitive.

A more blatant and transparent effort to keep the "paving at all costs" bandwagon going is hard to imagine. Earlier this year, Mr. Williams and Senator Burns, totally ignoring any sort of public process, managed to ram a stealth bill through Congress fleecing the American taxpayer out of $2.4 million for this unnecessary project. At the time, Williams assured residents that he was only interested in paving nine-10 miles south of the Camas Road. In the latest article we see the true agenda -- pavement right up to Polebridge, and wildlife security, the law, and North Fork serenity be damned.

Having read this rather obvious effort at manufacturing a Halloween Roads Horror Story, I have three non-paving suggestions. First, Superintendent Johnson should enroll his drivers in a refresher class on driving loaded trucks without blowing a dozen tires. Second, invest the $2.4 million at 10 percent and use the $240,000 in interest to maintain the North Fork in perpetuity, with $ 170,000-210,000 left annually for other roads. Third, join with state and federal experts to fully examine all maintenance and dust abatement scenarios, not just pavement first, last and always.

Brian Peck
Columbia Falls

Last update: 12 Dec 1999