Road department seeks funds to repair flood-damaged roads

Published 9:01 pm Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Times haven’t gotten much easier for the Pike County Road Department, but officials are working hard to keep things operating after flood damage.

After severe rain damage last month, County Road 7708 has now been closed to the public. But County Engineer Russell Oliver said the local road department is working diligently to seek funds for repair.

The rain damage to the road, nearly caused the road to split, Oliver said. While the road department has stopped the street temporarily from damaging further, Oliver said it is still not drivable.

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The damage occurred on March 15, just before the storms that caused flooding in surrounding counties took place, but Oliver said he still hopes to draw from emergency funds.

But since the road wasn’t damaged in the same string of storms as the other counties on the emergency funding list, Pike County may not qualify for the federal assistance.

“The governor issued a proclamation for the rain events starting March 26. The initial damage here happened March 15, but since he issued the proclamation ALDOT (Alabama Department of Transportation) has released a memo letting them know they’ll be accepting applications for those,” Oliver said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen because of the timing on it, but we’re going to try.”

Oliver said the application will be submitted through the state transportation department, and he hopes to have a better idea of if the county will be funded in the next few weeks.

If not, Oliver said he isn’t sure how they will fund the project that will open the street back to the public, but he does have a plan to significantly reduce the cost.

By using road department employees to do all the labor they can in house, Oliver said the cost will come to around $22,000.

“What we’re doing is everything except what we can’t do, which is drive sheet pile,” Oliver said. “The other items of work we feel like we can do adequately with our own forces and equipment.”

Still facing tight budget constraints, Oliver told commissioners Monday night he isn’t sure where that money would come from without the federal assistance, but he is optimistic since the work could be done for a low price.