Crews in Arab working nonstop to repair roads damaged by flooding

Ninety percent of the damaged roads could be fixed within the next few weeks.

Posted: Oct 11, 2021 5:38 PM
Updated: Oct 11, 2021 7:01 PM

Repairs are underway to about a dozen roads damaged by flash flooding in and around Arab.

"You can outrun whatever, whoever, but you can't outrun God and you can't outrun his works," Brenda Smith, a resident of Arab, said.

She's lived off Brashiers Chapel Road for years. She said she has never seen the water get as high as it did Wednesday night.

Marshall County District 1 Commissioner Ronny Shumate said it was a first.

"It was just an unbelievable amount of water that I've never seen before," Shumate said.

He said some parts of his district saw a foot of rain fall within hours. He and his crew have been working nonstop since.

"We went 44 hours without closing our eyes," Shumate said.

But, the work has just begun.

"We got a lot more to do," Shumate said.

Now that the water has receded, they're taking a look at the damage left behind and figuring out what needs to be done to fix it. Other district commissioners are pitching in to help them.

"They sent manpower and vehicles, which really, really helped," Shumate said.

He expects 90% of the damaged roads to be fixed in the next few weeks, but Brashiers Chapel Road will take much longer.

"This is going to be my biggest issue," Shumate said.

The water from the creek rose so high, some people were waist-deep while standing on the bridge. It also led to a bridge collapse, leaving a gap about 5 feet wide and 25 feet deep, and shutting down the road.

It's still unclear how much the bridge repair will cost, but the parts alone are more than $100,000. Shumate said the total flooding damages needs to exceed $440,000 dollars in order to get state or federal aid.

"I believe we're going to be able to hit that just in my district," he said.

State legislators are already working to get Gov. Kay Ivey to declare an emergency.

"We're going to have to have it. That's all I can say," Shumate said.

However, Shumate is confident they'll get through it and make all the repairs necessary.

"Everybody is pulling together," Shumate said. "God is taking care of us. He always does. We will continue to battle this, one situation at a time."

State and local emergency management agencies are working to assess roads across the state that were damaged by last week's flooding. The state EMA said they need to get a total estimate on the damage before requesting federal assistance. It's unclear how long that process will take.

Shumate said he knows it can take years for some areas to actually see the funding, but this bridge repair will not take years. He hopes to get it done within the next 60 days but can't guarantee that timeframe. In the meantime, he encouraged people to reach out to him about any damage they see on roads.

"Just bear with us," Shumate said. "If anybody sees a situation we don't know about, call me, call the county shed, call 911. Let us know what's going on, where it's at. We can't fix it if we don't know it's there."

As of Monday, six of the 18 damaged roads have been repaired. Here's a full list of affected roads (some of these roads may have already been repaired):

  • Brashiers Chapel Road;
  • Eddy Scant City Road; 
  • Mobbs School Road;
  • Mobb Hill Road;
  • Hester Road;
  • Thompson Falls Road;
  • Cobb Road;
  • Lynnwood Drive;
  • Landmark Road;
  • Matt Morrow Road;
  • Pleasant Valley Road;
  • Mountain View Road;
  • Askea Grove Lane;
  • Copeland Lane;
  • The intersection of Maple Hill and Eddy Church roads;
  • Friendship Road;
  • Snowpoint Road; and
  • Bluffview Drive.

You can report any other damaged roads by calling the county shed at 256-753-2557.

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