Funds for MLK work coming soon

Published 12:01 am Friday, June 30, 2017

NATCHEZ — County officials received confirmation Wednesday that funding to repair a 30- to 40-foot erosion slide on Martin Luther King Jr. Road will come soon.

The slide has caused one lane of the road to be closed in the Anna’s Bottom area of north Adams County.

Supervisor Mike Lazarus said he reached out to representatives in the office of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and sent Cochran’s staff photographs of the damage.

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Cochran’s staff, in turn, apparently sent the images to the offices of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“I think that might have had something to do with (the county receiving the funding),” Lazarus said.

The erosion slide began to worsen after a heavy rainfall in February, causing county leaders to seek emergency funding for an already approved United States Department of Agriculture Emergency Watershed Project.

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

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

After further rains in June, the project took a portion of the edge of the asphalt down into the slide and supervisors began discussing whether the board needed to allocate county funds instead of waiting for federal money.

With federal dollars confirmed, County Engineer Jim Marlow will design an EWP structure, and once done, the county would either advertise for bids or if declared an emergency, Marlow will request bids from three to four contractors.

Lazarus said he did not know what the cost would be at this point. The original estimate of the repair was approximately $170,000, but that estimate was conducted in 2015 before this year’s rainfall made the project worse.

“I think the hole is worse than (approximately $170,000) in cost now,” Lazarus said.

Lazarus said the federal funding would be sent to the county once construction work begins on the project.

Marlow said the county was notified of the funding Wednesday. Marlow said surveying would take at least a day due to the rough terrain. From there, he would bring the information to the Jordan, Kaiser and Sessions office for design.

Marlow said after the design is complete, the information would be sent to NRCS for approval. If declared an emergency, which Marlow said it likely would be, the bid process would take a few days.

Lazarus said crews should be turning dirt in 10 to 14 days, weather depending.

The county has not received word on the other three projects it is seeking emergency funding for.