What Does It Mean to Live on a Dirt Road?

If you are considering moving to property on a dirt road in the unincorporated portion of Mobile County, here are some things you should consider before the purchase:

Most importantly, determine with certainty whether the road is maintained by Mobile County, or is privately maintained. The County Engineer maintains an inventory of roads that are maintained by Mobile County. Much of that information is available on this website . However, before you make your final decision, a phone call to the County Engineer’s office would certainly be advisable.

If the road is not maintained by the County then you should know exactly who is responsible for the maintenance of the road. In most cases you will find that the homeowners along the road are responsible and if this is the case, please consider carefully the probable extreme cost of maintenance that you will have to bear.

The County is prohibited by law from accepting for maintenance, roads that are not built in accordance with current acceptable roadway design and construction practices, so if you should end up on a private road, Mobile County will be unable to assist you with your road maintenance needs.

Additionally, the following should be carefully considered:

When the temperatures are high and weather conditions are dry, the dirt road will get hard and therefore, become what is commonly known as “washboard” or very wavy, causing vibrations of the vehicle you are driving. These weather conditions also cause the road and surrounding area to be dusty. Therefore, any vehicle passing by your property will leave a dust trail that will blow whatever direction the wind takes it. Also, during the summertime, the rains are often unusually heavy, which sometimes causes washes in and alongside the road due to the looseness of the fine material. This could cause travel on the road to be more difficult until the road is graded.

In Mobile County, when the temperatures are low and the long duration of rains set in, you can anticipate periods when the road will be muddy and even slippery, depending on the soil type on your particular road. Mobile County schedules all of the dirt roads it maintains to be graded on two to three - week intervals. Of course heavy rains will sometimes delay this operation.

Mobile County’s road construction paving program is known as the Pay As You Go Program. Hundreds of County maintained dirt roads still remain. Therefore, before purchasing property to construct a home on a dirt road, please consider all of these comments. It would be to your advantage to decide if you have the frame of mind to endure the inconveniences that come with the benefits of living on a dirt road in the unincorporated portion of the County.

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