Washington County Votes to Keep Controversial Roads Open

Washington County commissioners recently talked about closing several roads in the county because they are becoming dump sights where folks were dropping off anything and everything.

Commissioners say that was costing the county money, especially since those roads are in constant need of repair, but after many residents got a chance to speak their minds Thursday night plans may have changed.

Folks packed the room for this public hearing in Chipley to decide the fate of the roads in question. All are located in the Ebro area of southwest Washington County.

Many spoke out saying closing the roads could put lives in danger because it could cost emergency responders precious time when they answer a call. Some school buses would have to be rerouted making the ride a lot longer.

Representatives of the Florida Highway Patrol and the Ebro Fire Department and members of the Washington County School Board were on hand to back up those claims.

They all noted people move into different areas and the first question they ask is whether or not the road is maintained by the county and if school bus service is available.

Washington County School Board member Joe Taylor told the meeting if the county didn’t keep the roads up there was a problem.

"If the answer's no, we have to have a real special reason to go down there. If you abandon maintenance on those roads, in our eyes it's closed."

In the end, after hearing everybody out, commissioners voted unanimously to continue maintaining the roads, and they are looking into a plan to assist the land owner with the cleanup of all the trash and debris dumped on the roadside by unknown people.