Mississippi County crews racing against deadline set for disaste - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Mississippi County crews racing against deadline set for disaster recovery project


It's been more than three years since the Birds Point levee was blown, leaving thousands of acres of farm land underwater and infrastructure destroyed. 

Now, time is running out for county crews to finish repairing roads and bridges.

Mississippi County, Missouri made a deal with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and if they're not finished by the spring of 2015, the county won't get reimbursed for all of the work.

The project on County Road 310 is the last of the 75 projects.

Three years ago, farmers used this road a lot.

"It's missed, sorely missed,” James Marshall said.

Marshall is one of those farmers.

"In the city, there's a road and then a block, then a road, then a block. So, if the roads that's between the two blocks is gone, you have to go around to the next road that's available and that's what we have to do now,” Marshall said.

That road will, hopefully, be back in business come spring, but if not taxpayers could be left with a big bill.

"The FEMA engineers estimated this project to be 1.3 million dollars,” County Clerk Junior DeLay said.

DeLay says the costly price tag is because flood waters did a lot more than wash away a little gravel.

"It created a massive, massive hole. If fact, they never could even determine the depth of the hole,” DeLay said.

They've filled in the hole but now comes the hard part.

"They can actually start doing dirt work and preparing a road bed,” DeLay said.

Getting the dirt work done beyond their control.

"Everything is dependent upon mother nature,” DeLay said.

DeLay says if the ground is too wet, crews won't be able to complete the project.

"The absolute deadline date is May 8th," DeLay said.

If they miss the deadline, DeLay says, FEMA won't pay their full 75 percent of this project, which would be a huge hit because the county has been working on the repair for years.

"Our infrastructure was decimated by the flood,” DeLay said.

As for farmers, Marshall says they have to keep the same attitude they've had since the flood.

"There are a lot of roads around here and they have a lot to do so we just have to be patient and find other routes to go,” Marshall said.

DeLay says the total cost of damages came to about 75 million dollars. The county was responsible for 25 percent of that. Which means the county will be responsible for 18.75 million dollars in repairs.

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