Rain threatens Ellison Road, resident says

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Merle Ahner stands in her back yard Tuesday on Ellison Road and points to water backed up from a creek.(Jon Giffin The Vicksburg Post)

[5/19/04]Merle Ahner has lived on Ellison Road since 1971 and the creek below her house has flooded her land and threatened to wash out the road after every rainstorm.

But, Warren County District 1 Supervisor David McDonald said, that may soon change.

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Pointing to the grass-covered low area behind her home, Ahner said the trouble stems from a culvert that carries a normally small creek under Ellison Road.

“It dates back to when (Thomas F.) Akers was out here,” she said, referring to the District 1 supervisor who was in office in the 1970s.

She said when rains are heavy, the water can’t flow through the culvert fast enough and it backs up.

At one time, Ahner said, she planted a garden in the bottom but had to quit because of the flooding.

“I’ve seen it over my pole beans,” she said, indicating a depth of 5 or 6 feet.

Once she gave up on a garden, Ahner decided to try several blueberry plants in the bottom. The flood water kept her from harvesting any fruit for the past two years.

And, Ahner said, the runoff is not just rainwater. She detects sewage from somewhere upstream. As a result, she becomes sick when she mows her grass after a flood.

The high water is also a risk to Ellison Road. On the west side, water has washed a large cavity, narrowing an already narrow road. As a result, she feels it is dangerous for cars, much less the three school buses that use the road daily.

McDonald, who is just beginning his second four-year term as District 1 supervisor, said help should be coming, hopefully before the end of the summer.

In September or October, McDonald said he had County Engineer John McKee survey the creek’s drainage area to determine just how large a culvert is needed to replace the 30-inch or 36-inch pipe in place.

That work was done last fall, but work to place a larger culvert has not begun.

The needed work involves digging out the present culvert and replacing it with one 4 or 5 feet in diameter.

“We may also put it in lower,” McDonald said.

He said he was unsure just when employees of the Warren County Highway Department will be able to start on the project, mainly because of the weather.

“We will need at least a couple of weeks without rain,” he said.