Gary Blanchard and his wife, Nancy, waited and waited.
Soon, the Winfield couple finally will be able to enjoy a smooth ride to their Moontown Road home in a clean car.
They have lived on the dirt road for 28 years and have been anticipating its paving for just as many years.
Blanchard joined fellow resident, Annie Laurie Tankersley, and county commissioners Diane Ford and Mark Devoti to dig into the hard-packed dirt road with a golden shovel last week at a groundbreaking ceremony attended by many area residents.
"This is a happy day in our life," Blanchard said looking forward to a car without mud caked underneath.
Moontown residents Gary Blanchard (from left) and Annie Laurie Tankersley joined Columbia County commissioners Diane Ford and Mark Devoti in a paving ceremony. Residents have been working with the county for years to get the rural road paved.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Moontown Road, Moontown Mist Road and Moontown Drive East will be added to the list of more than 100 dirt roads paved in the past 10 years with $5.6 million from the county's special-purpose local-option sales tax, said Kevin Lear, Columbia County's construction and maintenance director.
The latest project, which expected to take about a year to complete including utility relocations, will cost $875,000.
"This is such a large project," Lear said. "We have been working for five years to get this one going."
Residents, who are anxious to see machinery out there and work being done, will have to wait another few weeks while paperwork is signed and details are worked out, Lear said during the ceremony.
Ford, the former commissioner for that district, said she worked hard to get Moontown and other rural roads paved and was proud to see her work coming to fruition.
"It has been a long time coming," she told residents with a shovel in her hand. "We didn't believe we would ever get it. But here we are today, finally breaking ground."
If more funds are approved for paving in the next sales-tax referendum next spring, Lear hopes to get the 100 dirt roads left in the county paved.
Preparing to pave the three roads was easy because residents supported the project, which will use nearly 5 tons of asphalt.
Tankersley, who owns 66 acres of property on both sides of Moontown Road, gave up of her three acres for right-of-way for the paving.
It was all worth it, she said.
At the ceremony, Tankersley grabbed her golden shovel and said, "If we are going to do this, we are going to do it right."
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