Lowndes County - Tropical Storm Jeanne dumped more than 8 inches of rain on Lowndes County in just 24 hours. Four months after the storm, that water is still causing big problems. "We have a bridge being replaced on Dodd road, we have some projects like Old Statenville Road that were just opened as recently as November," said Paige Dukes.
So much water flooded Johnson Road, it literally carried away a massive chunk of the roadway and left several drainage pipes exposed. It could be up to a year before it's passable again. "We have to do quiet a bit of design work, its not as simple as patching a road or rebuilding a bridge," said Dukes.
It will take hundreds of thousands of dollars to complete all the repairs. Unfortunately, the county still hasn't received any federal aid. "Because of it being near the end of hurricane season when we applied, there just weren't a lot of funds left apparently and we didn't get any support," said Dukes.
Right now, county officials are in the process of applying for pre-disaster mitigation grants. "With that money we could take that bridge our, put in a better bridge that will withstand the weather at a later date," said Dukes.
But if that doesn't come through, the debt will be left up to the taxpayers. "We've been able to reprioritize some of our SLOST project so we can use SPLOST to do some of those repairs," said Dukes.
But in the midst of all this damage, there's a positive lesson learned. "Our construction crews, emergency management and engineers are constantly evaluating the conditions here in Lowndes County," said Dukes.
So the next time mother nature's wrath sweeps though, this county will be better prepared.