LUBBOCK, Texas — On Thursday, Oct. 19, homeowner David Benitez read a slip of paper attached to his truck saying Lubbock County was ready to get started on road repairs for East County Road 5500.

This was a hopeful message for Benitez and his neighbors. It comes years after homeowners living along the road have asked for their road to be paved. They’ve asked for this because their dirt road essentially turns into a river when it rains.

Since the neighbors went to speak to the Lubbock County Commissioners in August and their road was approved for repairs, they’ve been in communication with County Commissioner Gilbert Flores.

Lubbock County has nearly one million dollars allocated for the 2023-24 caliche and seal coat plan and some of that will be used to repair East County Road 5500, according to County Judge Curtis Parrish.

At the time, Flores told that they should see work being done in the area within six months. However, the letter that came in October was the first encouraging step for the neighbors since the time they approved the project.

“It says ‘Hey, they’re getting ready to start,’” Benitez said.

The homeowners have been stuck in the mud countless times, pulling each other out with tractors and sometimes sending their cars to the shop afterward for repairs. Just to avoid getting stuck, they would rather get out of their car at the top of the road and walk or ride a tractor for the distance to their home.

The homeowners also expressed their fear that emergency vehicles wouldn’t be able to make it to their homes after a rain.

They need caliche put on the road to safely get to their homes without getting stuck. The county said they will do this, however before they do, every homeowner on the road has to buy and install a culvert. Benitez said this could cost them $3,000 for the materials alone, which would not include the labor to install it.

“One of my neighbors got a quote to have it done for $8,000,” Benitez said. “Everybody’s kind of upset. We kind of knew it was coming but I have one neighbor that’s been here about three years, and they decided to put their house up for sale because it’s just been a pain and it’s expensive. It’s another cost.”

Nevertheless, Benitez said even though the price is high, they are willing to do it because it’ll be worth it in the long run. He said he plans to install his culvert on his own and will help his neighbors with what they need as well.

He also said he’s happy the county is listening to them and working with them, which is why he doesn’t mind helping out where he can.

“If we want something, we got to give a little something,” Benitez said.

Just like the neighbors gathered to speak to the County Commissioners, or pull someone out of the mud, they’re getting together to see the project through and make sure their road becomes safer.

“We’re just a little team of neighbors that are trying to help each other out,” Benitez said.