Property owner frustrated with ditch cleaning response

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Alvin Byrd, co-owner of Magnetic Valley Retreat on Magnetic Drive, says that County Judge Sam Barr refuses to clean out ditches across the road from the resort and those ditches fill up with leaves, diverting rainwater to where it washes out one of the driveways at the resort.

There is a curve in the county road where the leaves pile up. Byrd said the issue also causes a hazard for drivers when there is a lot of rainwater runoff on the steep road.

“We have asked the county every year to clean the ditches out, but the ditches haven’t been cleaned out in three years,” Byrd said. “When it washes out the driveway, we are told it is not the county’s problem to fix our driveway. But it is the county’s negligence that is causing the driveway to wash out. We don’t know what to do. Judge Sam Barr is extremely rude and will not do anything on Magnetic as far as the ditches being cleaned out so water can flow the way it is supposed to. It costs us about $500 every time it happens to get it fixed again.”

Byrd said the county judge makes all decisions about roads and what is done with them. No one has any authority over him and there is no one else to turn to in this situation.

Barr said the only problem he can remember on Magnetic Drive is where the water comes down the hill, it feeds into the property owners’ driveway, which is lower.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that rainfall in Northwest Arkansas, including Carroll County, was way above average this past winter, and Barr said the excess rain has caused a lot of problems with roads and bridges in the county.

“We lost a bridge on CR 705, and lot of other bridges have been damaged where water has washed out around the ends of them,” Barr said. “We have to fill back in with clay or gravel. We clean the ditches. Unfortunately, we have 761.4 miles of roads to take care of with seventeen people. It is impossible to get to everyone’s problem the same day they have it. But we are working on it.”

Then Barr hung up the phone abruptly.

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