Residents along Dry Ridge Road are up in arms over how long it’s taking the Camden County Road and Bridge Department to replace a low-water crossing on their road. After closing down June 6, the latest extension will be until September 1, two weeks after school starts. That’s two weeks kids will have to be toted out of their way as buses are redirected around the bridge, Jennifer Pierce said. A parent to three students in the Camdenton School District, Pierce is worried about the safety of her kids, the extra time on the buses and the additional wear-and-tear on the family’s vehicles.


Residents along Dry Ridge Road are  up in arms over how long it’s taking the Camden County Road and Bridge Department to replace a low-water crossing on their road.

After closing down June 6, the latest extension will be until September 1, two weeks after school starts.

That’s two weeks kids will have to be toted out of their way as buses are redirected around the bridge, Jennifer Pierce said. A parent to three students in the Camdenton School District, Pierce is worried about the safety of her kids, the extra time on the buses and the additional wear-and-tear on the family’s vehicles.

With bus funds tight in the district, there isn’t extra money to be wasted by rerouting buses 15 miles because this project isn’t done when it’s supposed to, Pierce said.

Frustrated more than anything, Pierce explained that a lack of reliable information from the county about the delays has fueled the neighborhood’s speculation and anger.

“No one is telling us anything and we’re the ones that pay the taxes,” Pierce said.

Dry Ridge Road is located about 3/4 mile from of the former Highway 5, what’s now known as Westwood Drive. Depending on which side of the bridge a resident lives on, it could take them an extra 6-7 miles (one way) on a road to get to a main road.

The bridge closed down on June 6 to begin what was supposed to be the 60-day project. The crossing is now expected to be closed until September 1.

Neighbors have heard cut water lines, lack of permits and construction not being up to code as all reasons the project is delayed.

“It’s not our fault as a community that they did not do this right,” Pierce said. “If they didn’t do their job right, they should be fired.”

Camden County Road and Bridge Department Supervisor Rich Pieper said early on in the project, water shut-off valves had to be installed on two water lines running near the project. Original plans didn’t have the pipes so close to the bridge.

Other than that, excessive heat has been the only other delay, he said.

Pieper said the lines were never cut, a rumor that circulated through the neighborhood. And, the construction project is completely permitted through the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers. The process included submitting a packet of detailed information.

Road and Bridge employees have been working around the excessive heat by coming in early and getting outside work done earlier in the day.

Pieper asked county residents to be patient with the department until they get back on track. The new crossing will be safer, especially when it rains. Pieper said it didn’t take much for the old low-water crossing to flood over the road and create a potentially dangerous situation.