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Oct 5, 2012 1:33 AM by Jacqui Heinrich, jheinrich@koaa.com

County commissioner takes action after deadly crash on washboard road

We're making good on our promise to follow up on a deadly rollover in southern El Paso County last month; it happened on a badly damaged dirt road near Hanover.

Staff Sergeant David Feaster, a Fort Carson soldier, was killed when his car was thrown from the washboard road on High Plains View. His 11-year-old son watched him die, pinned under the vehicle.

Area residents say neglected roads have been a problem for years. "People are actually driving through pastures because the roads are so bad they're impassible," Tami West told News 5. Her neighbors agreed: Andrea Tucker said, "Some potholes are so big they'll just take your entire tire into it and absorb it." Deanna Halstead told News 5, "My truck, you can hear it just slam into those if you're going even ten miles an hour."

Many people were left asking why the county wouldn't maintain the roads after the developer-- gone bankrupt-- abandoned the project. The answer, County Commissioner Dennis Hisey says, "They're not county roads, they're private roads."

Though the county does own some of the open space that borders the Fort Carson live firing range, there's nothing out there but private homes on private roads-- nothing the county is responsible to maintain.

Lucky for residents, county officials aren't turning a blind eye. Commissioner Hisey told News 5, "I do sympathize with them because the roads really are bad. I drove the roads just a few weeks ago and they're as bad as people say they are."

Hisey is working on a new public improvement project. Last time the roads were evaluated it would have been a multi-million dollar project to bring them up to county standards for regular maintenance.

Since there are so few homeowners to share the burden, Hisey hatched a new plan: one with a $200 annual pricetag per homeowner. "It would be enough not only to grade the road two or three times a year, but it would be enough to start putting some culverts in the low spots and some gravel over areas where it's just dirt and clay. They're [the residents] not looking for a paved four-lane going right to their house, they just want something safe and passable so I think we might be able to get there this time."

To get it done, the Hisey is asking for your help if you live in that area; in order to collect funds to start maintaining the roads, 20% of homeowners need to sign a petition to put the issue on a ballot, which will go to a vote. If enough people agree to pay about $200 per year to keep the roads safe, the county is willing to take on the job.

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