JACKSON COUNTY, Ala. - Jackson County drivers are frustrated that a road that washed away more than a year ago has yet to be fixed and reopen.
“This happens every now and then but this is the worst it’s ever been,” said Pleasant Grove resident Kathy Murphree.
County Road 17 is still in pieces after being washed away more than a year ago. There are deep cracks all along a 75 to 100-yard portion of the road. There are also piles of leaves and mud that have washed onto the road in recent storms.
“We do need to get these roads fixed. We live here. It’s our transportation. It’s the only way we can go,” Murphree.
She has lived in Pleasant Grove for more than a dozen years and takes County Road 17 ever day to work.
“If we have to take and go 17 the other way to 79, it’s a lot harder on vehicles especially if you have older vehicles, and it’s further distance,’” said Murphree.
Jackson County Commission Chairman Tim Guffey told WHNT News 19 the problem area is about 40 feet below the road surface. He said they have a plan to fix it.
“The county's first bit of work will be to remove that top burden and get down to where the problem, that's when the contractor will come in and make the repairs and we’ll then start building the ground back up to road level and getting it paved,” said Guffey.
The county is waiting on state environmental test results and the wet weather to calm before they can start working. Guffey said they want to fix it right the first time, unlike what was done in the past.
“We’re having the correct testing. We’re going by FEMA, federal and state guidelines to make sure it’s done correctly. Over the years, they just kept paving over and paving over and that’s something that we didn’t want to do. Right now, there’s about 4 and a half foot of just pavement and that’s ridiculous to just keep paying good money at a problem that you know will come back again,” explained Guffey.
Although drivers have created a makeshift path next to County Road 17, Guffey said it is safer for drivers to deal with the inconvenience and go the long way to where they need to get.
Three other roads were also damaged at the same time as County Road 17. They will begin work on those after the completion of this project. It will cost a total of $6.1 million.