Cold, rain delay FEMA repairs

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cold weather and rain have caused FEMA repairs throughout the county to slow tremendously, said County Engineer Darren Capps Tuesday.

Capps said since the first of the year, any work to repair roadways and bridges damaged during the county’s flooding disasters in 2009 and 2010 has been greatly impacted by the weather.

“Believe it or not, dirt roads can freeze when temps reach in the low to mid 20s,” Capps said. “And we’ve had quite a few of those days this year.

“Then, there’s the issue with the rain. Can’t do much dirt work because of the rain every two or three days. So when (the roads) do dry out, we have to be ready to act pretty quickly.”

But with weather these days, once the rain is gone, crews are faced with bittery, cold temperatures. Luckily, the majority of the county’s road equipment is equipped with enclosed cabs, which help protect employees from harsh temperatures, Capps said.

Capps said county crews are trying to stockpile rock throughout the county in preparation for nicer weather; however, on days like Tuesday, county crews have to change their normal scope of work.

“So, instead of grading roads and things of that nature, we use the time to take down dead trees, take care of any ditches that may need clearing out, cleaning off bridges and right-of-ways – that sort of thing.”

Capps said crews have begun working on a bridge on Parrish Road, near Florala, which is being paid for using FEMA funds.

“It was destroyed,” he said. “The new one we’re installing is a very nice two-lane, 48-foot, pre-cast bridge. But as for all the other work we have waiting, we’re just going to have to watch the weather. It looks like it will be a month or so before it even begins to warm up.”