Residents Speak About Road Problems

There is a growing call for action following the closure of a main road that connects west Alabama to east Mississippi.

The bridge on County Road 39 in the southern part of Choctaw County, Ala., partially collapsed due to heavy rainfall this past spring. Instead of the problem getting better, residents in the area say it is getting worse and they want something done about it.

Residents of the Isney community brought the message to the Tuesday meeting of county commissioners. They want County Road 39 to, at least partially, be reopened for traffic.

"I know from my own experience, I've been around a while, that big rock in that hole will make our road temporarily passable until the Almighty comes down," said Troy Robertson, a concerned citizen.

Partially closed in March, about a week ago County Road 39 was closed completely due to continued deterioration.

District 3 Commissioner, John Beard, who oversees that area, says the reason the bridge has not been repaired up to this point is because he has been waiting for money from FEMA to cover the costs. With the road now completely closed, residents say they can't afford to wait.

"We can't live with six more months because we have emergency vehicles. We've got a lot of elderly people in our area and if they had to go in an ambulance and you have to detour 12 extra miles, they may be dead before they get to where they are going," Robertson said.

That's why during the meeting the group presented a petition with signatures of almost 300 residents from the area to the commission.

Concerned citizen J.T. Thomas said he believes the petition led to action being taken.

"I just want the people to have patience with us," said Beard. "I'm working as hard as I can to get the money available for us to get it repaired. And we're going to go ahead and take action and get it done."

Although there's still no exact word on when the almost $80,000 for the project will arrive from FEMA, Beard says he's is now taking matters into his own hands and using the resources he has available right now to build up the road so that it can safely open to at least one lane of traffic by the end of this week.

Choctaw County officials say they did receive another notice from FEMA Tuesday telling them some additional federal funds could be coming soon, but they have not been told how much money it will be, or when it will come.


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