Poinsett County Roads are Washing Away

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

HARRISBURG, ARKANSAS (KAIT)

It's a simple matter of physics, water runs downhill and since a good portion of Poinsett county is down hill from Crowley's Ridge the path the water often takes are the county roads.

With over 90 percent of the roads in Poinsett county being dirt or gravel it doesn't take a lot of imagination to figure out the damage being caused.

Damage that prevents new projects from moving forward.

Poinsett County Judge Charles Nix and road foreman Tommy Freeman showed me a typical washout along Morning Sun Road.

Nix, "About the time it gets dry enough where we can start going in and doing some roadwork we get another rain and it makes it hard to really catch up on our maintenance work."

The washout ran downhill around a curve. It's about knee deep to Freeman and fixing it will take time and lots of material.

"Fill this up, put 2 -3 pound rip in it. Line it and that way the water washes over the rip instead of washing the gravel away."

Rip is a two or three pound rock like what's used around culverts, another typical problem area.

So far this year many of the culvert ends have been washed away and 3 have had to be totally replaced.

All these repairs take a lot of money and road workers' time.

Since Poinsett county was declared a disaster area, FEMA has come in to make surveys and locate projects for repair.

Nix, "They are looking for areas where the heavy rains and flooding and those problems created above average road problems."

According to Nix, a project will not be a whole road but just an area where damage is evident like along that curve on Morning Son road.

Nearly all the county has been surveyed.

Nix, "We basically have 5 grader districts and we have identified projects in 4 of those and we have one grader district left that we have to go through and pinpoint those."

With fall harvest coming concentration may soon shift to the flatlands, getting those roads repaired and bridges maintained.

Freeman, "Whatever is worse for the public what we try to fix up first. For safety."

Judge Nix says he doesn't know how many projects FEMA has identified to date, but he said he saw the stack of paperwork and it looked like it was 3 to 4 inches high.

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