After Weeks Underwater Roads Suffer Damage From Floods

LAWRENCE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) -- A couple of weeks after the first rain drops fell some roads in Region 8 are still underwater.  Roads all throughout Region 8 are suffering from too much water.

"I can't get through it right now in places but in some places you won't be able to pass for a while," said resident Aaron Whitlow.

Lawrence County Judge Alex Latham said there are huge holes in some of the roads that have been eroded by rushing water and the longer there is standing water the worse they will get.

"It just sits here and saturates the road bed and deteriorates it.  Everyday it sits there it saturates it so it's going to deteriorate more," said Latham.

There are 250 miles of damaged roads in Lawrence County like and road crews have already started working on them.  With more rain predicted to be coming, they may not be able to get to them for a while.

"We're in the process of fixing some roads for the second and third time from this water.  Of course we haven't even gotten to some of them because we've not been able to get the water off of them," said Latham.

FEMA came to Lawrence County last week and looked at some of the roads and their preliminary damage assessment is $120,000.  However, Judge Latham said that doesn't include roads still under water.

"We're probably looking in the neighborhood of $200,000 to$250,000.

But even if a federal disaster declaration does come, fixing the roads will still take a big toll on the county budget.

"Even if we get the federal money, which I believe we will get, we're still going to have to come up with an additional 12 ½% to match that in order to get it," said Latham.

The rock is washed completely off of many of the roads and huge craters are left behind.  The county is looking at hundreds of repairs that they need to get started on.

"If we could just have the best of all worlds and the water go down today we're looking at 10 to 15 hard working days just to get things back into good shape," said Latham.

If the predicted rains do come the wait could be longer and the bill higher.