A dust bowl on Slavin Road

KIMA received calls asking for help from the residents on Slavin Road.
They turned to Action News after feeling they have been ignored by the county in their continued efforts to get their road paved.
KIMA took action for you, to see what could be done.

Don Harris has been waiting for the county to pave Slavin Road since 1986, when he says he was first told it would get done. But according to him, 1986 never came.

"They just let it go, let it go, let it go," said Don Harris.

Last fall, the county finally purchased the road, and made plans to get it paved earlier this summer. However, the project is behind schedule, and with budget cuts the county was not able to dust-abate the road, resulting in more dust than normal for Don and his neighbors.

"We have to suck up all this dust, you can't even come outside, you can't take a walk, you're quality of life is no good, you can't ride your horses, you can't do anything outside here because of the dust," said Don.

KIMA contacted the county, which admits the process is taking longer than planned, but asks for patience as they have run into unexpected delays.

"Right of way on Slavin took a little longer than we hoped it would take," said Mark Brzaska, Engineering Services Manager in Yakima County.

The county was originally held up in acquiring the land from all of it's previous owners. Then after problems with the first bid they accepted, they decided to open the bid to another contractor.

"It'll still get paved this summer, probably just a month later than what we had anticipated earlier this year," said Brzoska.

Don's major concern is the health issues, he says after breathing in this air for so long, he and his son are now on a breathing machine.

The county explained that some of the problem is out of their hands, because with gravel roads come dust problems, but progress will come soon . Just not soon enough for the residents on Slavin road.

"It's just like they don't even care about us, well we sure as hell pay all of our taxes. I don't think it's fair at all," said Don.

The county told KIMA the problem should get better once construction begins. The contractors are required to keep the dust levels down with water trucks.