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County roads in tough shape

By Staff | Apr 16, 2009

A team of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) workers were in Pierce County last week surveying some of the damage to roads throughout the county caused by excessive runoff.

“It’s quite an ordeal down here,” said David Migler, fifth district county commissioner. “It seems like every day I come across five or six spots I’ve had to close (due to overland flooding).”

The southern end of the county has been particularly hard-hit, with sections of roads washed out or flooded, and there have been reports of residents unable to get to their farmsteads because of rising waters, forced to stay with friends or relatives for the time being.

Above average snowfall this past fall and winter and rapid melting have caused sloughs and ditches to fill up, with water eventually running across roads and washing out culverts.

Water has been running over the paved road heading into Balta, the first time that is believed to have occurred since 1969, Migler was told. That forced commissioners to close a portion of the road as well as roads leading into town on the west and south sides.

“I’ve haven’t seen anything like this before,” Migler said. “It’s going to be a long process to get the roads open again and repaired.”

Sections of roads have also been closed in the northern end of the county as well, victims of excessive runoff.

Commissioners realize the closures create inconvenience for residents in the country, forcing some to drive different and longer routes to reach their property. Migler said sections of roads are closed in the interest of safety and to prevent further damage from occurring. Motorists should respect the barricades and not drive around or through them.

The commission approved an emergency declaration earlier this month. Duane Veach, county disaster emergency services coordinator, said the full scope of road damage in the county really became evident after last weekend, when more snow melted.

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