Debris blocks ditches, helps lead to flooding

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Ditches in Region 8 are full, and not just full of water.  The ditches are also filled with something else.

"Trees falling are stopping our tile up.  We've had to go in a lot of places and clean the front of the tile out so we can get the water to go on down the ditches," said Craighead County Road Formon Bo James.

Left over debris from January's ice storm is blocking the ditches.  But it's not just in the main ditches that this debris is being found, it's also on the property of residents in the area.

"If they've got a creek or a ditch that runs through their property we're limited of what we can do," said James.

The county can only go thirty feet from the right of way onto other property.  That means if the blockage is on personal property the owner is responsible for it.

"We stress that if you do have a creek you need to clean it out or hire someone to come in there and clean it out," said James.

And the blockage is causing big problems for everyone else.

"We can't get the water off of our right of way and off our roads to get into the main channels of the river to get rid of it," said James.

Corrie Stricklin lives just down from the ditch on County Road 409 and it has flooded three times in four months.

"Our culvert can't handle the water and it's washing away our asphalt," said Stricklin.

She said the county has come back and helped repair their road, but there's not much they can do.

"We've done everything we can do around our tile around our county roads to alleviate their problem.  If they don't get their creeks cleaned out that run through private property then we're losing a fighting battle," said James.

As for Stricklin, she will watch the weather closely in the coming days.

"It makes me cringe because if the water came into our house it would be devastating.  We're not in a flood zone, so it's not supposed to flood," said Stricklin.

James said the weather plays a big role in the jobs of the road department employees.  When we have days and days of rainfall they can't get out and repair the ditches like they need to.  There are 1,600 miles of county roads in Craighead County.  1,400 miles of that of dirt roads and 200 miles are paved roads and there are problem areas on many of those roads.

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