Several Houston County roads flooded during excessive rains brought by Hurricane Sally will likely be closed for months, officials say.
Barkley Kirkland, head of Houston County Road and Bridge Department, said parts of the roads where water pipes are located have been undermined, deeming them impassable. Barricades have been set up to steer motorists away from crossing these areas along several roads, which could collapse under the weight of a motor vehicle.
“The pipes that go under the roads that drain water are washed out and it washed out the dirt and all under the paving, so it’s just not safe to travel over,” Kirkland said. “So, if there’s any signs that say ‘Road Closed,’ people don’t need to go through there.”
Roads affected are small local roads, including Middleton, Atkinson, Gin, Day, Gilmore, Gene Terry, Zachary, Coot Adams, Cecil Varnum, and South Park roads.
Some roads have dirt piled on in places to further deter motorists, but Commissioner Brandon Shoupe said he is still concerned about people driving around the barricades to access to roadway.
“We do what we can, but when you have barricades up that say ‘Road Closed’ and dirt’s dumped there, people need to have a little sense to them,” Kirkland responded. “We can only do so much.”
Kirkland hopes to get Federal Emergency Management Agency funding to fix the damaged pipes and support the roads. He said the county has surpassed the required $400,000 threshold for storm-related damage repair costs for FEMA to provide funding for damage caused by severe weather events. He added that FEMA officials should arrive in Houston County in around two weeks to talk to local officials.
He said the storm damage has also delayed other planned road projects, including the roundabout at the intersection of Campbellton and Taylor roads. As of now, he is unsure when construction will begin.
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