WISE/DENTON COUNTY LINE — Wise County resident Natasha Bejar can tell you a lot about North County Line Road. It has taken her time and thousands of her dollars.
“This part is scary when you’re passing a diesel,” she said, dodging potholes during a drive on the road last Thursday morning.
She and her family recently moved from Arizona into a Texas country house that was once a foster home. It’s located on a 3-mile stretch of the road that splits Wise and Denton counties, about 15 miles west of downtown Denton.
“The speed limit is 35 [mph],” Bejar said. “Do you notice I can’t go 35? I’m going about 15.”
On move-in day, back in August, an axle on her white minivan was destroyed when Bejar drove into a deep pothole full of water.
“So that was over $2,000,” she said of her vehicle repair bills.
Since then, Bejar has met with Denton County officials several times to find a solution to the dilapidated state of the road. Even two of her adopted children, 16-year-old Isaiah and 17-year-old Tyler, have scoured their neighborhood to ask residents about their experience with getting the road fixed.
Most people they’ve talked to, Bejar said, just assume nothing will ever get done.
On Tuesday, Bejar and her children will appear in Denton County Commissioners Court to try to spur a more permanent fix. So far, she’s noticed only temporary patch jobs have addressed her concerns.
“They just fixed that last week,” Bejar said, pointing to a sealed gash in the road. “But it’s not going to last.”
Bejar said she fears the road will never be fully repaved, because North County Line Road doesn’t have a high volume of traffic compared to the many other road and highway projects underway or in the works.
In the past 10 years, Denton County has spent about $188,000 toward the road’s maintenance, according to a county spokeswoman. That sum includes not only surface and pothole patching but also signage repairs and mowing expenses.
Denton County Commissioner Dianne Edmondson, whose Precinct 4 covers North County Line Road, declined multiple requests Friday and Monday saying she was busy and couldn’t answer questions about the road or how much of a priority it is for her office.
Dawn Cobb, the county’s spokeswoman, answered questions for Edmondson. Cobb wrote in an email Monday, “Commissioner Edmondson said the county will be addressing as many problem areas as possible in Precinct 4,” adding that Edmondson is still figuring out which roads are a priority since coming into office in January.
Denton County Judge Andy Eads, who was the Precinct 4 commissioner before his current office, answered questions between meetings Monday about how the county prioritizes road projects.
“It’s not just on traffic counts,” he said.
When he was in office, Eads said, his staff looked at a variety of factors, such as how many future housing developments are planned in the area or whether any major thoroughfares nearby are scheduled to be renovated.
“Each year we would develop a paving list of roads, and it was a collaborative process,” Eads said. “We got a lot of different opinions and then we would help rank those roads, and we would work on the construction schedule.”
One thing Bejar said she is wondering about is whether overweight permits truckers must pay to drive on the road could go directly toward repaving North County Line Road instead of feeding the county’s general fund.
“I’ve driven on roads this bad,” Bejar said, “but only in Mexico.”