Flood damage estimates in, rain delays continue

(Photo by Steve Rogers/DTL)
Staff Writer

Last week’s flooding did $287,000 in damage to public roads, impacted 88 houses and did even more harm to private roads, according to Clay County Emergency Management Director Torrey Williams.

The wet winter also continues to put road, water and sewer projects on hold in Clay County.

And with forecasters predicting as much as six inches of rain during the next 10 days, an end to the delays is not in sight.

“We just can’t get ahead of the weather, that’s all it is to it,” District 2 Supervisor Luke Lummus said of delays to repaving Railroad and Clisby roads in his district on the eastern edge of West Point and the Melton Bottom area of the county.

Hodges Construction damaged the roads hauling dirt for the Peco Foods construction project on West Church Hill Road and is required to repair them. The company dug out destroyed spots more than a month ago and filled them in with new gravel.

But rains in the subsequent weeks have kept the gravel from properly settling and crews from being able to pave.

“It’s settling nicely in most of the spots, but it won’t stay dry long enough to finish it off and get it paved,” Lummus said.

4-D Construction also has been delayed from installing more than 3,000 feet of water lines and fire hydrants in the Lone Oak Park area to improve fire service. Work on the $68,296.75 contract was supposed to start Feb. 10 but keeps getting pushed back.

The same goes for PermaCorp’s $44,334 contract to move a broken sewer line on the Northside Christian Church property on Cottrell Street. The line is in a drainage way that leads into Lake Louise and must be moved to higher ground.

“Neither one of them have been able to work because it’s been so wet. Frankly, I’d rather them not try right now because they will tear more stuff up because the ground is so wet. We’ll just have to wait,” said Boodro Marsac, the head of West Point Water and Light.

Meanwhile, inspectors have completed their initial assessment of damage caused by flooding and overflowing creeks between Feb. 21 and Feb. 27

Most of the homes that were impacted were in the Humphries Cove, Point Harbor, Cypress and related communities on the west bank of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway and its tributaries in eastern Clay County.

The $287,000 in road damage includes equipment and manpower. While some of that damage was in the eastern part of the county, it also includes two roads and bridges washed out in the western part of the county, including Smith Road off Lake Grove Road. Damage to Old Tibbee Road also is included, Williams said.

Because some of the roads in Humphries Cove, Point Harbor and other developments are private roads, those costs are not included.

Local and state agencies also don’t know when the federal government might make a decision on declaring he state a disaster area. Gov. Phil Bryant has asked for assistance for as many as 45 counties because of the flooding and severe storms, including the tornado that caused two deaths in Columbus.

“We’ve gotten all the information on the damage to public properties and roads and bridges and numbers of private properties but not cost estimates. That’s later. We’re pushing all the numbers up to Washington and hope they make a decision soon,” Williams said.