BY MELANIE BUCK –
The county was hard hit by weekend storms and officials took advantage of Monday’s sunshine to assess the damage. After traveling to various damaged areas, Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison explained that it will take several days to make an accurate assessment of all the flood damage, but, he said, “I have seen enough today [Monday] to believe that the county has met the threshold to ask for financial help restoring our road and bridge system.” Judge Ellison said he made a verbal disaster declaration to the state of Arkansas on Monday. The county is certainly no stranger to flood damage, having received more than $350,000 in damages last year.
Judge Ellison explained that the hardest hit areas from Saturday’s flooding appear to be in Wickes, Hatfield, and Alder Springs and Sunday’s hardest hit areas of the county were east of Hwy. 71 in Wickes, Vandervoort, Shady, Board Camp, Big Fork, Opal, Cherry Hill, and Highland.
“If you live on Polk 67, east of the old Opal store, you can now get out at the Big Fork end. Polk 154 is now open at Hatfield. Polk 2 at Grannis is only open going out to Polk 246. Polk 600 at Shady is now open. Polk 664 near Cherry Hill must be accessed from the north end, probably for a good while because of the major damage to the bridge,” Ellison explained.
Judge Ellison encourages citizens to call 479-394-8133 with reports of major damage and to please be patient with them as they work through this flood event. Judge Ellison also recommends using extreme caution while traveling the county road system. Ellison said, “Know that we are working very hard to restore the county roads and bridges.”