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FEMA to begin evaluating county road damage

Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be evaluating weather-damaged roads in Warren County, the county’s engineer said.

“We are going through the project scoping with FEMA,” Keith O’Keefe, with Neel-Shaffer Engineers, said. “That involves some site visits to the damage sites and assessing what needs to be done to make the repairs and also developing cost estimates with FEMA.”

Some of the work involving the damage assessment and estimates for the 41 affected sites have been done, he said, “so it’s just a matter of going through that process with FEMA and getting the agreement on the scopes of work for repairs and the cost estimates. That’s what we’ll be doing over the next two to three weeks.”

He said the county’s damage assessment has been completed.

O’Keefe said the evaluation begins Wednesday with a virtual tour of the damaged sites to help FEMA officials confirm the repair estimates and scopes of work. He said officials will make onsite visits to the major damage sites.

Torrential rains in January and February heavily damaged county roads, causing washouts and mudslides. One of the heaviest hit was a section of Redwood Road, where a major slide problem forced county officials to close the road.

At a Feb. 24 meeting where the county’s road damage was discussed, O’Keefe showed photographs of the road, pointing out at the time the mass of dirt from the slide was affecting the road.

“There’s a lot of weight that’s actually pushing on this roadway,” O’Keefe said at the time, showing photos where the road shifted because of the weight of dirt and where the pavement was cracking.

He said the estimated $2.5 million project to fix Redwood Road will be paid by the Federal Highway Administration.

O’Keefe said some county roads — Gowalt, Old Jackson Road, Tucker Road and Davis Road — were repaired by county road crews, who fixed problems with shoulder erosion and other minor problems.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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