Heavy rain could cause damage to county roads

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 7:05 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - As severe weather moves through Lubbock County, nearly 40,000 county residents could be dealing with rough road conditions.

Dirt and caliche roads cover more than 800 miles in county and those roads can deteriorate under heavy rainfall, creating extra work for the county and potentially dangerous conditions for drivers.

Deep ruts washed out roads, and potholes are just some of the issues that can arise.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Terence Kovar says the county has a strategy to fix what they can while waiting for other areas to clear up.

“We always try to...rotate around between the rainstorms, that way we can get to all these roads,” Kovar said.

The county is responsible for asphalt, dirt and caliche roadways.

“The caliche is what we want to work when there’s a lot of moisture on it because those are harder to work,” Kovar said. “That way it gives time for the dirt roads to start to dry a little bit. They’ll still have some moisture in them and then they can go work the dirt.”

In some instances, it can take the county up to five days before repairs are made, with weather playing a part in the timeline as well.

But county workers will be sent out immediately if roads become dangerous.

“In emergency situations, that changes,” Kovar said. “So, if there is an emergency situation and a road washes out, or some issue like that, we can get to that immediately. We don’t want to wait on that.”

The risk for those emergency situations is greater in different parts of the county, so it’s important for residents to keep a watchful eye on road conditions.

“You get off in your canyon areas and your draw areas like Precinct 4 or Precinct 2, then that’s where the roads will start eroding away,” Kovar said. “A couple years ago, they actually had to go and try to save a road with some large rock. A road and bridge went out. That was basically an emergency job or else they were going to lose the entire road.”

Kovar says if roads are damaged, the first step for residents is to call public works and don’t be worried about the cost of repairs.

“If it’s in the county right-of-way, a county road, then it’s the county’s responsibility,” Kovar said.