Thanks for patience during Gustav

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 19, 2008

To the people of Adams County, I want to thank you for your patience with the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav. It was a stressful and trying time for all of us. As everyone knows, the entire county was without power at one time or another. I, again, want to thank all of the first responders who performed masterfully. Adams County has 428 miles of roads. Seventy percent of that is paved and 30 percent is gravel.

The Adams County Road Department managed to have all roads open with at least one passable lane within 36 hours of Gustav’s arrival. A job well done and appreciated! They have not stopped working since.

After moving the trees and limbs to the sides of the roads, unfortunately, there were several delays with getting them picked up and moved to staging areas or disposal sites. Adams County had to wait for a presidential disaster declaration and at the same time we had to wait for the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality to approve the disposal sites.

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If we would have moved the debris before these approvals were granted, we would have been in violation. Since the declaration and staging areas were approved, the road department has been working though every Friday and Saturday to get the debris to the staging areas and we will continue this overtime work until all the roads are cleared.

Another issue and delay I would like to bring to your attention happened in the Kingston area. About two months before the arrival of Hurricane Gustav, and unbeknownst to the board of supervisors, seismic cables and boxes began to appear on Hutchins Landing, Kingston, Spokane, Carmel Church, Upper Kingston, Ogden and Magnolia Acres Roads. This seismograph company was performing test in search for the likelihood of oil. There were two problems. The seismic cables and boxes were lying in the county ditches and right of ways on both sides of these mentioned roads, without a permit or permission from the Adams County Board of Supervisors.

We tried to cut the grass in these right of way areas but the result was destroyed cables and boxes. There were miles of cable.

One local property owner went to court with the company for redress. They may still be in court.

I spoke with our board attorney, Bobby Cox, about a remedy. He and I both agreed the county did not need to be in another lawsuit. Bobby has since spoken to the seismograph company’s attorney, and I am pleased to announce as of a week ago Friday, all the cables and boxes have been removed.

We have already begun cutting grass on these right of ways as well as debris removal. It’s our sincere desire to have all the county roads back to normal in the very near future. Again, I thank you for your patience and understanding with these unforeseen challenges to the Road Department.

Henry Watts is the District 2 Adams County Supervisor