Crumbling roads leave Lamont residents feeling ignored

A pothole in Lamont, Calif., has grown to the point where chunks of asphalt break free from the road, April 23, 2018. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Roads in Lamont are littered with potholes, and now people there are worried the best road in town is about to get a whole lot worse.

A state bill could potentially lead to less maintenance of a major thruway in the small town.

AB 1764 would take Highway 184, Lamont's Main Street, and transfer it from the state to the county.

People in town tell Eyewitness News the county can't even maintain the roads it already controls.

"Every street in Lamont, I'm pretty sure, has more than 10 potholes," said Ashley Ramirez, a Lamont resident living on a fairly beat-up street with its fair share of potholes. Ramirez's street is one of many roads in Lamont crumbling to bits.

Lamont Chamber of Commerce President Jose' Gonzalez said if he had to grade the road system in Lamont, he'd give it "below an F."

Gonzalez isn't even half joking with that evaluation. Some roads have fallen apart so much that you can actually pick up chunks of asphalt.

According to residents who have lived in Lamont, some more than 25 years, this is not a new problem at all. Some said the potholes are so bad in some areas that they hold up traffic.

"When there's traffic coming the opposite direction, you have to wait 'til they pass," said Ramirez. "No one will go through the potholes. They're bad."

Now people in Lamont have a new worry.

Gonzalez said Main Street is only a "C" road, but that's better than the "below an F" standard around town.

He fears the road becoming the county's responsibility would be another hit to a system full of cracks and gashes.

People in Lamont tell Eyewitness News the cracked-up roads are because too many roads are slipping through the cracks, and they fear if any more road maintenance were put on the county, they'd just end up with more roads in bad shape.

Gonzalez said no matter what happens with Main Street, the roads in Lamont as they are now send a clear message to his community.

"Lamont, we keep hearing, is not the priority, so that's the difficult part for the community is having to hear that," he said.

Gonzalez said he hopes some way, somehow Lamont can be pushed up the priority list.

Assemblyman Rudy Salas, who represents Lamont in the state legislature, supports AB 1764.

According to Gonzalez, the assemblyman is working to make Lamont an exception to the bill.

We are waiting for official responses from both Salas and Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez, who also represents Lamont.

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