Levee Repairs Continue in Randolph County

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - In March of this year the levee holding back the waters of the Black River breached flooding miles and miles of land throughout Randolph County.

"I guess there was nobody more shocked than I was on a Saturday afternoon when I met with the Corps of Engineers, and they said, Judge we don't know if you know it, but you are responsible for those levees. I was shocked."

County Judge David Jansen says immediately there was finger pointing and confusion over who was supposed to be taking care of the levee system, but he knew there were things that were more important than who was at fault.

"My number once concern as a judge is the health and well-being of my citizens in Randolph County. With the levee breaches, that affected life in my county and in Lawrence County," said Jansen.

So with swift action, the county worked with the Army Corps of Engineers to construct a small temporary dam in one of the breaches.

Now, several months later the walls continue to rise.

At the levee's biggest breach, the county has now constructed another temporary dam stretching more than 700 feet long.

But what about the rumors that someone had torn down parts of the levee to build the Patrick Manor senior living subdivision just off Pace Road?

"At this time, I don't think those questions have really been answered. I don't worry about them. I worry about what are we going to do to fix the problem now," said Jansen.

And as the county continues to work with the state and the Army Corps of Engineers, they are thankful for what progress has been made, and hope the Flood of '08 was a lesson learned.

"We are now doing the rebuilding process, and it's slow, but boy, we've come a long way from that day. I promise you we've come a long way," said Jansen.

Judge Jansen says he is now working to re-establish the levee board so they can run the levee system in the future.

He is also meeting with the state to work on legislation that will prevent such a thing from happening again.

The Army Corps of Engineers is set to walk the levee in Pocahontas again on the 25th of this month.

From there, planning for more permanent solutions will begin.

Story ideas or comments?  Email Will at wcarter@kait8.com.