published Monday, June 9th, 2014

DeKalb County, Ala., seeks funds for storm-damaged roads

DeKalb County, Ala., officials are awaiting funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help cover expenses for repairing county roads damaged by flooding from the April 28 storms.

An application for reimbursement will be filed with the federal agency, and repairs "are still ongoing," County Administrator Matt Sharp said Friday. "Reimbursement is probably two or three months away."

Flooding from heavy rains is nothing new for DeKalb since most of the county is bracketed between two mountains with waterways criss-crossing the valley between, he said.

FEMA will reimburse the county for 75 percent of the estimated $300,000 in road and ditch damage caused by heavy rains dumped on DeKalb in April 28 storms that produced seven tornadoes in the county, said Anthony Clifton, DeKalb Emergency Management Agency director.

There were about 75 locations scattered all over the county where flooding damaged the roads, he said.

"Some are worse than others," he said. "At one place on Lookout Mountain, there's two 72-inch pipes that washed out; two of those six-feet-high, sitting side by side. That's a lot of water."

Many other pieces of road -- from five-feet wide to 30-feet wide -- were washed away all the way down to the roadbed, and that's how they'll have to be fixed, from the roadbed up, he said.

About 75 miles worth of roadside ditch also damaged in the storms are tallied in the $300,000 figure, he said.

Michael Posey, the county's assistant EMA director, said last month that of the 50 homes that were damaged or destroyed, just 11 of them were insured.

The loss for dwellings stands at $1.2 million.

Other costs associated with the storms included $438,700 in damage to utilities, $27,200 in costs for barricades for damaged roads and bridges, $73,500 in damage to buildings other than dwellings and $780,000 in debris removal costs, so far, Posey said.

Clifton said debris removal is continuing and residents need to pile up what they've collected for county crews.

"Any citizen who has debris needs to get it to the county right-of-way for the county to pick up," he said.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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