By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
Unseasonably heavy rains led to flooding across Carter County last week, with several roads temporarily closed and others sustaining flood related damage that the state and county hurried to get fixed so the roads could be reopened.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) closed US 60 west of Olive Hill on Wednesday evening as rising flood waters covered a temporary bridge and bypass near Tygart Creek Elementary. The KYTC reported that flash flooding covered over and washed out parts of the temporary roadway, which was recently put in to accommodate traffic during a bridge replacement over Tygart Creek.
“The water covered our diversion road, and damaged some of the blacktop and stone base,” Allen Blair, with KYTC District 9 explained. “It was unsafe to leave open (Wednesday). It remain(ed) closed (on Thursday).”
By Thursday morning, however, contractors were back at work repairing damage to the roadway caused by the high water and the road was open again by 7 p.m. Repairs to the temporary road included, “adding dirt and rock where needed, making sure the barrier wall (was) in the right place… and repaving… where the blacktop was damaged.”
County roads were impacted too. The Carter County Fiscal Court released a notice that, on the other end of the county, “Fourmile Road and several side roads… sustained major damage from flood waters.”
The county road department went to work right away to make those roads passable again, Judge Executive Mike Malone said in an email communication with the Times.
Road supervisor Jason Carroll spoke with fiscal court on Monday evening with an update on the situation resulting from the high waters.
“In a 48 hour period we received at least two months of work,” Carroll told the court.
That work includes 61 tiles damaged or completely washed out on the first night of heavy rains, and another 40 on the second night of rains. Other damage to county roads include slips and washed out blacktop, Carroll said.
He told the court they are already taking bids on some replacements and have already began work on other problem areas.
Judge Executive Mike Malone said while the county had planned to begin paving projects this summer, the repairs to storm damage might have to take priority.
“We have people that can hardly get home,” Malone said.
Carroll, however, offered a plan that would allow the county to proceed with both projects. He said he had compared prices from different contractors, and that Blacktop Industries could pave the roads as cheaply as the county could – cheaper by the time the county accounted for the overtime costs that would be accrued doing the work themselves. He recommended letting them do the blacktop work, freeing up county employees to work on other road projects while still meeting their promised paving commitments. If the county approves, Carroll said, he would like to begin marking areas for blacktop repairs this week.
The county will take up that issue and others in a work session tomorrow (Thursday) evening.