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      Lack of road maintenance causes residential uproar

      When it comes to maintaining the roads, that is the Houghton County Road Commission's job, but Pepin Road has some residents upset.

      â??Well, every spring when we have the spring thaw and the road softens up and we have deep pot holes and ruts and people get stuck going in and out of the roads,â?? said resident Loyal Weilar.

      With a budget of five million dollars, the Houghton County Road Commission spends over two million dollars on snow removal while the rest is spent on routine maintenance and road repair.

      County Highway Engineer Kevin Harju says they sent a grader to Pepin Road Sunday. The grader passed over the road once just to make sure it was smooth enough to travel.

      â??Pepin Road is extremely wet. Itâ??s on a clay base, and some portions are relatively good and others are bad. If we try and grade it too much, we actually make it worse,â?? said Harju.

      Residents say only 100 yards of this road has been graded, and the worst part of the road has been ignored. Another concern some of the residents have is that they have not received their mail in four days.

      â??Our postman has broken a spring on his Jeep trying to deliver the mail,â?? Weilar said.

      And mail is not the only thing residents worry about.

      â??My concern is that if there is an emergency that they wonâ??t be able to get through the mess. What they need to consider, since theyâ??re responsible for this road, is if the medical people canâ??t get in here, theyâ??re going to get sued.â??

      The Houghton County Road Commission says when it comes to emergencies, they will send out equipment immediately if their assistance is needed.

      â??Itâ??s not a cheap process, and with todayâ??s budgets, we have seen a decline of four percent for the past five years. Weâ??re essentially operating in 2,000 revenues right now, and as everyone knows with the price of materials and fuel, weâ??re subject to those fees, too, so our funds are getting very limited and so are the townships,â?? Harju said.

      For now, residents will have to continue to drive slowly on Pepin Road, and the Houghton County Road Commission encourages the community to contact them if they have any concerns.