The creeks of Miller County may have returned to normal after the floods of August, but most of its roads and bridges have not. On Tuesday, an assessment team consisting of three FEMA staff and one state official surveyed the damage around various parts of the county.
What they found were that half of the bridges within in the county had been damaged by floods, and 90% of the roads had sustained some form of damage during the flooding; 60% sustained severe damage.
"We've had a lot of trouble at the low-water crossings. They've all been washed out and scarred out," said Miller County Commissioner Brian Duncan. "Where there are culverts crossing the road and it gets overrun, the water will chew up one side, spill over and chew up the other side. Right now, some are down to one lane or less."
The county has fixed some of the most pressing damage, but much remains to be done. The Sheriff says damaged roads aren't just an obstacle course - they prevent his people from responding quickly.
"It slows us down. we can't respond down those roads like we used to," said Miller County Sheriff Bill Abbott. "Even though the speed limit down the road is 55 miles per hour, the wear and tear on the vehicles is bad."
Miller County also has to confront the issue of funds to repair for all of the damage. Right now, the price tag for miller county to fix its roads and bridges is about a million dollars. The county is not sure if FEMA will help to fund repairs. Without FEMA money, the county could be paying for repairs for years to come.
"What it would do is take a lot away from our maintainence, our regular everyday maintainence is where it would hurt us at," Duncan said. "We'd be trying to repair this and using our everyday maintainence money to do these kinds of repairs."
As Miller County continues to dry out after August's flooding, damage assessment and repairs will continue also.
The county expects to have an answer to whether or not it will receive FEMA relief within three weeks.