BY MELANIE BUCK –
More flood damage was left behind by the recent thunderstorms that barreled through the county on Thursday and Friday nights leaving some in need of rescue. Polk County Sheriff-Elect Scott Sawyer said that two individuals had to be rescued off of Polk Road 57 just after midnight on Friday night, due to high water.
Polk County Judge Brandon Ellison and the county road crews have found themselves spending much of their time making repairs following storms, rather than fixing roads laid out in plans months ahead of time. “It’s very frustrating. I’ve got a big summer lined up for improvements and we are going to wind up spending a lot of time on just repairs. I don’t’ know why we’ve had this kind of cycle in the last five years but it’s made it very difficult to get ahead,” said Ellison.
The south and east parts of the county were hit the worst during this round of drenching rains. “We have had a tremendous amount of rain, with some places exceeding 12 inches in a two-day period. Wickes and south got the worst damage, however we’ve got a lot of damage in the eastern part of the county as well,” Ellison explained.
He also explained that even though Polk County received quite a bit of damage, there weren’t enough counties in the state to received a disaster declaration, meaning FEMA will not be involved and the county must pay for the repairs on its own.
“We had damage where I’ve never seen damage,” said Ellison. “One man said he had lived there for 40 years and he had never seen that amount of damage in that area before.” There were several bridge approaches that washed out creating a lot of dirt work ahead. Crews have had to replace a few culverts, but most of the structures withheld the floods.
Two bridges were damaged that remain closed. The Polk Road 657 bridge at Board Camp is expected to be opened up in a couple of days, however, the bridge on Polk Road 664 between Cherry Hill and Opal could be closed for some time.
Although the damage is still in assessment stages, Ellison believes $250,000 in damages was done.