The Pleasant Valley Fire Board made an appeal to the Gila County Board of Supervisors to do something about the deteriorating condition of the main road into town — but the reaction suggests they’d better get used to washboarding.
“The 512 road’s condition has deteriorated substantially. The washboard condition on several blind corners, curves and straightaways have become increasingly dangerous. There have been numerous accidents where vehicles get sideways and lose control directly caused by the condition of the road’s surface,” wrote PV Fire Board Chairperson Pat Hosman.
Hosman said the deteriorating road has increased travel time for ambulances and fire trucks trying to reach the remote community.
Not only must emergency vehicles “slow to a crawl” on the dirt road but “the fire and EMS vehicles take a severe beating every time they respond to an incident,” Hosman wrote in a Nov. 19 letter to the county.
Supervisor Shirley Dawson at the Tuesday board meeting admitted that “you have to come to a complete stop on some of those curves,” but seemed put off by the complaints.
“They call it Pleasant Valley, but I think that’s a misnomer,” she observed.
Supervisor Tommie Martin said “I don’t think we’ve stopped maintaining the road, but it’s been so dry — we couldn’t haul enough water to do the blading we have to do on some of those curves.”
She said the county has applied for federal funds to help maintain the road, which mostly crosses Forest Service land.
However, the county hasn’t actually met the requirements for administering the federal grants for maintaining roads on public lands. So the county hopes to partner with the Town of Marana where the public works department is certified to inspect the roads and to then submit an application.
Until then, the county can’t afford to do extensive maintenance on the road on its own, said Martin.
“We can assure Pleasant Valley we’re not asleep at the switch — it’s just more governmentium,” said Martin.