Both Covington and Newton County officials took the unusual step of abandoning roads this week, giving them to neighbors who either want to maintain them themselves or simply watch them go to seed.
Monday night, the Covington City Council voted unanimously to give up the remainder of Robinson Street near U.S. 278. Jared Rutberg, owner of Covington Pro Lube, asked for the road because it’s short and unmaintained, has been a spot for parkers and people simply abandoning cars, and remains on Google maps, leading truckers to attempt to use it. They can’t. City police have had to help several truckers back out onto 278 to get out of the dead-end road.
Laws require governments to offer abandoned roads to neighboring landowners on a 50-50 basis. Rutberg said his neighbor didn’t want the road and the added tax burden, so he plans to take the whole thing and maintain it.
The abandoned road is not long – maybe 250 feet by 30.
“It’s something that will make the area look a little bit better and possibly stop trucks from going in there,” Rutberg said of his plans to spruce things up.
The northern half of Robinson Street was cut off from Rutberg’s section and later abandoned itself when the railroad split it in two years ago.
Tuesday night, the Board of Commissioners abandoned a similar unnamed road in the southeastern part of the county, near the intersection of Old Starsville Road and County Road 213. That road bizarrely runs through the property of Mary Jane Dixon, and it doesn’t really go anywhere. The county does not maintain it.
The county’s vote to give Dixon the road was likewise unanimous.