Ob Groner Road is a twisty, 2.2-mile stretch of asphalt in southwest Sherman. Or rather, parts of Ob Groner Road are in southwest Sherman: the first few hundred feet, as well as eight-tenths of a mile somewhere toward the middle. The rest of the oddly-named street is the property and responsibility of Grayson County, and therein lies the rub for homeowners like Mike Raleigh.
Raleigh and his wife built a home on 15 acres in the 5200 block of Ob Groner in 2006, technically just inside a jutting peninsula of city limits that was annexed into Sherman in 2000. When Grayson Pipeline, LLC, knocked on his door three years later, Raleigh said he felt like he had little choice but to accept the company’s offer of $147 for the right-of-way underneath his front yard for a gas pipeline.
“It’s one of those things where you can get a lawyer and fight it, but they were going to come anyway,” said Raleigh, seated in his kitchen Wednesday. “The guy across the street, he got a lawyer and everything else; it cost him more on the lawyer than he got in the settlement.”
The company completed work as agreed and put things back the way they were, said Raleigh, with one major exception — the road outside his home was virtually destroyed. The company could not reached for comment.
“For three weeks, from Friendship Road to my house, they had 18-wheelers, they had the big tractors with buckets on ‘em, tank wheels on ‘em,” said Raleigh. “When they left, they left the street just a disaster; didn’t do anything to fix it.”
The homeowner contacted Grayson Pipeline to see about repairs, which he said they refused. Raleigh said he was told that the responsibility to fix the road was the city’s, an assertion Sherman Director of Engineering Clay Barnett said is valid.
“It’s not as much an issue down here; out in west Texas, where they have a lot of oil exploration companies, they’re having a really hard time with it,” said Barnett. “As long as they’re below a certain weight, they can drive anywhere, unless there’s a bridge that’s got a load weight limit on it. So they’re allowed to go wherever they want, and unfortunately we just suffer the consequences of having to repair the damage that they leave behind.”
Matters came to a head recently when Grayson County undertook a project to repair and chipseal Ob Groner — but only up to the city’s borders. With a strong arm and a good bounce, that’s about a baseball-throw away from Mike Raleigh’s driveway.
“Some of the road is taken care of by the county, some of it’s taken care of by Sherman; it’s very haphazard,” said Raleigh.
But the story, as it turns out, could have a happy ending for the folks on Ob Groner Road. After Raleigh began working with City Manager George Olson, the city said it has a plan to repair the remote street, rebuilding the base this fall before chipsealing the stretch next year. It’s a result, said Raleigh, that will finally allow him to pull out of his drive without incident.
“Everybody’s been very nice about it,” said Raleigh, referring to the city employees. “I don’t want to cause anybody any trouble, but I’ve been dealing with this for five years and somebody needs to come out and get this thing fixed.”