Road Closures Prove Problematic For Residents

January 19, 2007--Posted at 6:45 p.m. CST

JACKSON COUNTY, AR--The waters in Region 8 are receding but some of the high waters are still closing roads. When a highway is closed in a rural area it can make well traveled areas extremely hard to get to a location.

For the employees of Brock's Liquor Store in Elgin, Friday was another long day.

"When we get here there is nothing to do except clean. Our business is slow," said employee Brenda Hugg.

Brenda Hugg works at Brock's and says it's been this way all week since last weekend's heavy rains put the Black River out of it's banks and onto Highway 37.

"I think we had like eight customers Tuesday for the entire day and night from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.," said Hugg.

According to officials with the Arkansas Highway Department two miles of Highway 37 are underwater, in depths anywhere from a few inches to as much as two feet.

"Most of our clients come from Sharp County, Lawrence County and Independence County, but they are going somewhere else because our road is underwater," said Brock's manager Cheryl Van Winkle.

Van Winkle says the store usually does somewhere around $6,000 in business a day. As of Friday afternoon they were barely over $100.

"It's probably dropped 90% of what we usually do," said Van Winkle.

While the lack of business has made for slow work days, the high waters have made for even longer days for Van Winkle and Hugg, who normally travel to work on Highway 37 and have been forced to find a different way to work

"I drive about 30 more minutes a day longer than I normally do. It takes about an hour more of my time each day," said Van Winkle.

While Mother Nature was hard at work Friday drying out the road, the ladies at Brock's don't expect to be able to use Highway 37 until at least Monday.

According to the Independence County Office of Emergency Management Highway 37 is the only highway still closed off because of flooding.