County supervisors discuss, take no action on Martin Luther King Road

Published 12:15 am Tuesday, June 20, 2017

NATCHEZ — After a portion of Martin Luther King Jr. Road near the Anna’s Bottom area was lost to erosion over the weekend, Adams County Supervisors Monday discussed fixing the problem out of pocket instead of waiting on federal money.

Earlier this month, supervisors discussed fixing the road with emergency funding approved through the United States Department of Agriculture Emergency Watershed Projects program.

Martin Luther King Jr. Road is one of four projects for which the county is seeking emergency funding.

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The emergency projects are approved but funding has not been designated by the federal agency. It can often take years for an EWP project to receive funding after being approved.

County leaders hoped getting them approved as emergency projects would speed the process up, but have not received a timetable.

Headed toward Anna’s Bottom, the left lane of Martin Luther King Jr. Road is closed where the washout occurred.

County Road Manager Robbie Dollar said federal funding does not appear likely anytime soon for emergency projects.

Board President Mike Lazarus said he has sent photos of the location to U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss) in hopes Cochran can help obtain the emergency funding, but District 2 Supervisor David Carter said if help is one or two years down the road, that stretch of Martin Luther King Jr. could be washed away before the federal funding materializes.

“This may be something we have to bite the bullet and do,” Carter said. “We need to start figuring out how to do it ourselves.”

District 4 Supervisor Ricky Gray said for the farms and residents down in Anna’s Bottom a second way out does exist in Quitman Road, which also is on the EWP approved list.

The EWP repair to Quitman Road is estimated to be approximately $95,000 less than repairs needed on MLK, but Quitman Road has another potential problem.

Dollar said fixing Quitman Road ahead of MLK could be problematic because when the Mississippi River is high, water crosses Quitman at its low point.

Lazarus said he agreed with Carter that the county would probably end up having to fix the Martin Luther King site itself. Lazarus suggested looking into a retaining wall due to the depth of the hole.

The slide is approximately 30 to 40 feet deep. In 2015, the estimated cost to fix the Martin Luther King Jr. issue was approximately $170,000.

Gray said when the project was approved in 2015, the problem was not as bad.

“They didn’t approve it looking like this,” he said. “It will cost more now.”

At this point, Lazarus said the project would cost more than $200,000. Lazarus said the county would keep trying other sources but also needed to look at self-funding the road fix.

No action was taken, however, on the matter.