County Roads Ready for Rainy Spring Weather?

March 3, 2004 -- Posted at 5:32 p.m. CST

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY -- Wednesday's rainfall is just a sampling of what we can probably expect this spring. While the wet weather may be good for the flowers but how will the soggy conditions affect county roads?

Residents of County Road 740 near Jonesboro say when the weather is bad, their road floods and it makes a mess.

"Our road is like a river when it rains very much," said Leila Weaver, who lives on County Road 740.

Weaver's road often floods because there are no ditches, and fresh gravel now covers a culvert, causing water to flow over the road, instead of under it.

"Until we get that fixed, we aren't going to have nothing but problems out here, and I wish they would pull some ditches, and fix this culvert out here, where that water can come under the road instead of over the road," said Weaver.

The rainy weather makes the problem difficult to fix for several reasons, according to county Judge Dale Haas...

"The heavy rains, it makes the roads mushy. It's hard to haul gravel from our pits, when it's a real rainy season, because even when we haul the gravel out and put down the red clay, when it comes a big rain it usually turns to mush, and usually make the problem worse," said Judge Haas.

And with more than a thousand miles of gravel roads in Craighead County, officials say it's hard to maintain roads after storms.

"The thing that people need to remember when they see a problem, there are so many miles of roads, if they would just call it in," said Judge Haas, "We travel those roads, looking at them and inspecting them on a regular basis, and if they would notify us if theirs a problem near their home, then we can address the problem."

When it rains, those problems can become big...every inch of rain on an acre of land translates to more than 27,000 gallons of water! With clogged ditches means there's no where for that water to go...

"When there is this many miles of roads, your always going to have ditches with debris in them, we're constantly cleaning them. We run several escalators and graders and dump trucks on a daily basis and it's a never ending process," said Judge Haas.

The county often doesn't know what road conditions are after a storm, and depend on that information from citizens. If your road has become a problem, you can call the Craighead County Road and Bridge Department at (870) 933-4510.