Recent rains bring washout concerns for county leaders

Published 12:35 am Tuesday, June 6, 2017


NATCHEZ — With all the recent rain and more in the forecast, Adams County supervisors said they are concerned some roads may wash out before emergency funding is received.

Earlier this year, supervisors sought emergency funding for four approved United States Department of Agriculture Emergency Watershed Protection projects. The projects are Martin Luther King Jr. Road, Government Fleet Road, Grafton Heights Road and Scotland Drive.

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“It’s going to be a wet summer,” Board President Mike Lazarus said. “These issues are not going to get better by themselves, so we’re going to have to keep calling and calling to get something to happen.”

Lazarus said the washout spot on Martin Luther King Jr. Road near Anna’s Bottom has nearly caused one lane to be unusable.

“We are about to lose half of that road,” Lazarus said. “We have a lot of trucks hauling stuff in and out because of the farms down there. We’re just about down to one lane.”

The Government Fleet Road project involves a residence that is close to washing out into a hole.

While Scotland Drive is a private road, Lazarus said it’s the main way residents get in and out and must currently use a neighbor’s driveway to exit the neighborhood.

“Scotland Drive is a road we are about to lose,” Lazarus said.

District 4 Supervisor Ricky Gray said the Grafton Heights Road washout is at the end of the road near a residence.

“If we continue to get rain like we are getting, there is a possibility it would cause some serious damage to that trailer,” Gray said.

A total of 21 projects, worth approximately $1.5 million, have been approved, but the county has only recently received and submitted paperwork for eight projects. EWP projects can be approved for years without the county receiving funding.

Supervisors and Adams County Road Manager Robbie Dollar said they were concerned Monday at the supervisors’ regular meeting about the federal funding process because the four emergency projects were not included in the eight, leading some to wonder why the eight projects were jumping ahead in line above the emergency projects.

“We need to make a decision before long on Martin Luther King Jr. Road,” Dollar said. “With all the rain, it is just going to cause more problems.”

While the county has not received any money, projects leaders are expecting funding for include Zion Hill Church, Hensley Road, Persimmon Lane, Quitman Road, North Sunflower Road, Highland Oaks Drive, Lotus Drive and Lower Woodville Road.

The engineering estimate on the eight locations is $410,690.

County Administrator Joe Murray said he could not predict when money would be received for the eight locations designated for funding.

District 2 Supervisor David Carter asked if funding from one EWP project could instead be applied to an emergency project, and Lazarus said he would investigate.

“This would make folks unhappy to not get their projects,” Lazarus said. “But these are really emergencies. We would not have called them that if they were not.”