Columbus to prohibit through traffic on Paula Drive

Published 4:05 pm Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Columbus Town Council came up with a solution for Paula Drive that officials are hoping will make everyone happy.

Council met last Thursday and agreed to make Paula Drive, the dirt connector between Julia and Walker Streets, one-way on each side. The town will place a barricade near the middle of the dirt portion of the street, but will retain ownership of the road.

The town was previously considering closing the street at the request of residents, who said there is excessive traffic on the dirt, unmaintained road.

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Council also decided to spend up to $5,000 to gravel the road.

Councilman Michael Gage asked attorney Bailey Nager during the meeting if the town could make the road a dead end, stopping through traffic.

Council member Margaret Metcalf said she was in favor of closing the road. She said the road is not a necessity because there are other ways to get from point A to point B in that area. She also spoke of the road being &dquo;an accident waiting to happen,&dquo; and cited the costs of maintaining it.

Councilman Ricky McCallister and mayor Kathleen McMillian said they weren&squo;t in favor of closing the road. McMillian said she is not in favor of closing any town street and told council members they need to think of the street in terms of everyone in the town and determine if it&squo;s an asset.

McCallister said he wasn&squo;t in favor of closing the street, partly because it would then become a private road and residents wouldn&squo;t necessarily have the right to walk on it. He also expressed concern that if the town ever wanted to reopen the street it would cost the town money to buy it back from the property owners or the town would have to take it using eminent domain.

Council unanimously voted to make the road no-through traffic by placing dead end road signs at each end and barricading it somewhere near the middle. Town manager Tim Holloman said he will try to get the road blocked and paved by the town&squo;s September meeting.