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Supervisors declare countywide emergency due to widespread road issues

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Warren County Board of Supervisors. Left to right: Kelle Banks Barfield, District 5; Shawn Jackson, District 3; William H. Banks Jr., District 2; Edward Herring, District 1; Jeffery P. Holland, District 4. (File photo by David Day)

As rain continues to fall, Warren County declared a countywide emergency during yesterday’s Board of Supervisors meeting to address the conditions on area roads. 

“The reason for the declaration is so that when or if the federal government declares it as a disaster, we can receive assistance in repairs and other funding,” said John Elfer, Warren County Emergency Management Agency director.

Without a federal declaration, funds are not guaranteed, but by declaring an emergency in the county, it makes documentation all the more important.

“We will know exactly what to claim once declared because we have documented it,” Efler said.

With flash floods continuing in the area and severe erosion on roadways, WCEMA has closed nearly a dozen roads. In total, about 65 sites are damaged. Elfer met with County Engineer Keith O’Keefe to review those sites in need of damage assessments. 

“We came up with a plan and a priority to determine what is the worst and what needs to be fixed first,” Elfer said. “It looks like Redwood will be first.”

O’Keefe told the board Tuesday he will be coordinating with Elfer and dispatching three roadway crews equipped with a roadway engineer, a geotechnical engineer and someone from County Road Management. Assessments will begin today.

“The goal is to have these damage assessments done in the next two weeks,” O’Keefe said, “and from there estimate a cost, which will take about a week.”

Elfer said that Warren County will be responsible for fixing the roads associated with flooding and erosion.

“A lot of this will be driven by how much money the county has available to spend,” Elfer said.

Once damage assessments are complete, the county will have a better understanding of how serious certain situations are and come up with solutions to fix them. O’Keefe told the board county road management crews can start fixing minor damage once the sites are assessed and documented. 

Warren County Emergency Management Agency has said the following roads remain closed:

Freetown Road at 2944 block
Ziegler Road
Laney Camp Road
Warriors Trail at the Big Black
Summer Seat Road
Chickasaw Road
Long Lake Road
West Deer Creek
Thompson Lake Road
U.S. Highway 80  – 1600 Block
Redwood Road – 1515 to 1950 block

Elfer advises everyone to use alternate routes and obey all traffic control devices. 

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Vicksburg Daily News