By DOTTY NIST
“Going in there was so dusty…my car was a different color,” Mildred Wilkerson said of a recent visit to the Steelfield and Bunker Roads in southeastern Walton County.
Concerned about dust and the condition of county roads in that area, Wilkerson brought the matter up to the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) on Nov. 23.
Located north of the Intracoastal Waterway, the Bunker community is part of Walton County that is accessed via neighboring Bay County, although at one time a ferry connected Bunker with Point Washington.
Wilkerson, a member of the Walton County School Board, urged county commissioners to “find a place in your heart” to respond to Bunker community members’ road problems.
She told the commissioners that the unpaved roads are problematic, whether it is rainy or dry weather.
Wilkerson, a school teacher for many years, thanked Ryan Douglass, county construction engineering manager and previously one of her students, for helping her get scheduled to address the BCC.
“There is definitely room for improvement,” Douglass said about the road sections under discussion.
He explained that maintenance of the roads had been postponed for a time because a FEMA-funded project was upcoming, in which county road sections in the area would be resurfaced with a sand-clay base.
Lyle Seigler, county administrator, said that 7.5 miles of roadway in the Bunker community are under Walton County maintenance. He said county staff are coordinating with Bay County in connection with road sections in the community that are within the boundaries of the neighboring county. Options for improving road conditions are being examined, he said.
Douglass noted that oyster shell material had recently been placed on the Bay County road sections, and that the dust now existing may have resulted from that work.
Douglass then asked the commissioners for approval of a $131,300 bid by Gum Creek Farms to construct the FEMA-funded road project on the Walton County portions of Steelfield and Bunker Roads. The bid was approved by unanimous vote.
Staff were directed to continue to work with Bay County to coordinate efforts on roads in the Bunker area.