Alexander Co., IL farmers team up with county to fix roads, look at farmland

(Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS)
(Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS)
(Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS)
(Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS)
(Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS)
(Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS)
(Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS)
(Source: Mike Mohundro/KFVS)

ALEXANDER COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - Farmers are teaming up with the Alexander County Highway Department in fixing roads to get to farmland affected by the flood.

We caught up with them on Shildler Cemetery Road where farmers were rebuilding a portion of the road that had washed out.

Farmers and the county worked together to put in a drainage pipe and pack dirt around and on top of it.

Crews worked and repaired a lot of the road so far but have a couple more spots before they are able to get back in an area of farmland that is still able to be used that wasn't badly affected by the flood.

"There's probably six or seven acres that probably doesn't have any sand on it," farmer Kent Thomas said. "It just caught a little settlement which will help it and the ridges were already dried out where we can be planting as soon as it dries out."

The county fixed six roads but they still have about 15 miles of road to repair.

Farmers said it's important to get these roads fixed so they can get to their land to start getting it fixed up again for their crops.

"We farm all over the county so we are fortunate. Probably twenty percent of our operations are down here, the rest of it is out of the water per se,"
Thomas said. "But there is some gentlemen here, farmers here that this is where they farm at and they're extremely hurting and this is not good at all for them."

Thomas said tens of thousands of acres of farmland was affected by the flood.

Thousands of acres are covered in sand and crops aren't able to be planted there anytime soon.

Farmers there said it's a combined effort between them and the county to help get their lives back together.

"The county engineer always helps us and we try to help them when we can," Thomas said. "The farmers all have a little bit of equipment and so if it would help save two or three days then it's helping us too."

Farmers along with county officials feel this will take some time to recover from this latest flood, which Thomas said was worse than the New Years Flood in 2016.

"It's getting really old," Thomas added. "We're tired and wore out and every time it comes through we are getting more and more destruction. As you can see it's worse this time than the last and that's not going to change."

As it sits right now, Alexander County still has a gapping hole in the Lens Small Levee that broke from the record-breaking flood in 2016.

According to Alexander County Engineer Jeff Denny, it will take some time and a lot of help from the farmers to rebuild that levee in which they hope to get to later this year.

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