How Will Mayes County Pay For Road Repairs?

Wednesday, May 6th 2009, 5:23 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

UNDATED -- Mayes County road crews are hard at work repairing dozens of damaged roads from the floods, but they're running out of money.  So, what do county leaders plan on doing to cover the costs of those repairs?

You might think the rain comes down, the floods come up, and when the sun comes out, it's all over. But, it's not that simple. The rain has wreaked havoc on dozens of roads in Mayes County. And, county leaders say they need help.

County workers say it's the worst flood they've ever seen and it has affected the entire county.

"We had, at one point in time, over 75% of our roads were impassable due to high water," said Mayes County Assistant Emergency Manager Michael Dunham.

Many roads are still submerged under floodwater.  Across the county, dozens of gravel roads have been washed away.  One low-water crossing will cost $30,000 to repair, and even then, workers say it's a temporary fix.

Asphalt bridges in Inola were washed away by the sheer weight of the water.

Some think FEMA help is needed.

"I believe we do. We've had a lot of roads wash out, in Mayes and Rogers County. And look behind us, that bridge is totally gone, and it needs to be totally replaced," said Mayes County Assistant Emergency Manager Michael Dunham.

To qualify for federal aid from FEMA, the county needs to show they've sustained more than $120,000 in damage. 

Mayes County leaders say based on a preliminary report, the damage is around a million dollars.  The final report will be sent to the state emergency director, who will then ask FEMA for federal aid.

The state emergency managers will then wait until damage reports from about a dozen other counties across the state.  The money can only be used for public infrastructure repairs on county roads and bridges.