LeTourneau Road added to $2.8 million repair list|[06/03/08]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 3, 2008

LeTourneau Road was included Monday on a separate list for which Warren County supervisors are seeking repair funds.

The road that serves the riverside oil rig fabrication site for LeTourneau Technologies was put on a list for $2.1 million of the total being sought in storm-related roadside erosion money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service. Eight other projects are on the list for a total of $2.8 million this year.

NRCS initiates such projects when USDA engineers determine a threat to public safety exists due to erosion close to a roadway. To qualify, a site must experience 4 inches of rain in 24 hours and a majority of the damage must come from a single storm.

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2008 ProjectsEmergency Watershed Projects for 2008, with estimated costs:LeTourneau Road, $2,110,000Ballground Road, two sites, $149,000 and $96,000, respectivelyDogwood Road, $120,000Whatley Road, $101,800Redwood Road, $100,200Boy Scout Road, $69,000Kirkland Road, $60,000 Oak Ridge Road, $35,300The damage to LeTourneau and some of the other roads came from river flooding, which shut down LeTourneau’s work most of April.

No set distance exists for how close the erosion occurs beside a roadway to qualify and is normally up to the discretion of federal inspectors. However, the threat to the existing roadway as a result of this year’s flood should pass muster with USDA, district conservationist Raymond Joyner told supervisors.

A temporary shoulder was built in May to accommodate traffic in the ravaged eastbound lane. Other sites affected by smaller instances of erosion this year are on Ballground, Boy Scout, Redwood, Whatley, Oak Ridge, Kirkland and Dogwood roads.

Once a site is approved, local governments must pay 15 to 25 percent of costs – meaning Warren County would pay up to $426,210 in local funds, plus engineering costs.

Also, Warren, Washington, Bolivar and Wilkinson counties were declared disaster areas eligible for local government reimbursements from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. State officials have told local governments expenses must exceed $3.6 million to reach a threshold for payments. Those lists were still being tallied.

Eligible items include overtime pay for road crews removing debris, search and rescue, and several additional emergency protective measures.

Permanent work would be to repair roads, streets, bridges and other public property.

Also approved by the board Monday was an intent to apply to the Mississippi Development Authority for any grant money available relating to road repairs.