County: State of emergency

Published 11:58 pm Monday, March 14, 2011

The Alabama River at the Edmund Pettus Bridge exceeded 47 feet over the weekend. Emergency officials said even though the river did not cross into flood stage, some areas did flood forcing the county to close roads. Only minor damage was reported. The Alabama, along with other regional rivers are expected to return to normal levels in the coming days. -- Tim Reeves

Last week’s heavy rains took a toll on Dallas County roads prompting the Dallas County Commission to declare a state of emergency at the Monday meeting.

The damage to the area was not as severe as that in other areas of the state, Dallas County Emergency Management Agency director Rhonda Abbot said. But, she added, it was important to declare because some of the aftermath of recent storms is still being assessed.

“The governor’s declaration expired Friday night so they advised us to declare a state of emergency locally to cover that window,” she said. “It’s not going to obligate us for anything we just need that in place in case we have to take some action on it.”

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By declaring, Abbot said the county can take bids on repairs much faster than having to wait on approval from Montgomery.

Two Dallas County roads suffered damage from high waters, however, Dallas County engineer Coosa Jones said they should not cause long-term problems.

“We did have to close a bridge on Big B Road because flooding down there put a lot of drift on it,” he said. “We have informed the Department of Transportation about it and it looks like it might take some lengthy repairs.”

A section of County Road 82 also shifted but Jones said the road “is still passable.”

“We can fix it without a whole lot of trouble,” he said.

There were additional issues with a lagoon in the Dellwood community because of overflow, however, Probate Judge Kim Ballard said volume was the main issue.

“The way the pipe is set up it is supposed to release when the creek gets to a certain level,” he said. “It created a little backflow into the creek, but the water still went where it was supposed to go. The water levels were also perfect so it created enough dilution so that there were no problems. We’ll look at some ways to clear that pipe out in the future.”

With all of the problems road crews and county employees have faced during tough weather conditions, county commissioner Larry Nickles said they put forth an admirable effort.

“It’s been a tough two weeks and the road department has done an exceptional job,” he said. “It seems like a lot of these problems have come along on the weekend, but they have been out there, I really want to commend them for the loyalty they showed.”