Battle Rages on Over a Road in Ector County in Bad Need of Repair

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

ECTOR COUNTY-- People who live along Sheep Pasture road say it's a County Road and the County should pay to get it fixed.  County Commissioners paint a totally different picture.

Most people would be happy to find out they own some property.  For Billy and Mary Cole, it means Ector County won't pay to fix the road that leads to their ranch.

"It's the Flag Ranch's road," Precinct 1 Commissioner, Freddie Gardner, said.

"It doesn't belong to us," Mary Cole, said.

There's always two sides to every story.  Ector County Commissioners say Sheep Pasture Road isn't a county road and never has been so by law, they can't touch it anymore.

"Since Sheep Pasture Road, as far as we can determine, was never  taken into our system and voted on by the commissioner's court, it's private property, a private road.  As soon as we discovered this, the we could no longer do maintenance on that road," Gardner explained.

Cole doesn't understand, why the county has chosen to stop taking care of it, now, "It's funny that the county would take care of it for so long, but now that it needs work, all of the sudden they're claiming that it's not theirs.  I just think if the County had this agreement, that they would take care of it, they should honor that agreement."

Cole says she's gotten complaints from UPS, FedEx, even utility companies, on the road's condition.  It's also taken it's toll on the family vehicles, "I got a chip on my windshield.  When I got to the end of the road, it was a crack about that long."

According to Gardner, after all their research, nobody knows when or why the road started getting maintained in the first place, "I don't know if it was a former Commissioner.  Someone went out and did some maintenance on the road and it just kind of continued from there.  As far as who decided to do that, I don't know."

The Cole family just wants a road they can drive on, regardless of who it belongs to, "It takes 45 minutes to drive 4 miles. I don't know, it's no man's road."

Gardner says it costs the county about $10,000 dollars every time they make the 60 mile round trip from the county barns to work on the road.

Cole says, if worse comes to worse, everyone that uses the road should chip in for maintenance.  That includes the oil companies in the area.