By By Lisa Tindell
County commissioners hope federal funds for disaster relief will help upgrade flood-damaged county roads and bridges, not just patch them.
But it may take some time for the county to receive the $4.2 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency — and it will require at least a 15 percent match from the county, along with 10 percent from the state.
Escambia County Engineer Bill Bridges said estimates from initial evaluations have been made, and Federal Emergency Management officials will be in town this week to do further assessments.
The county experienced widespread flooding Dec. 14, when heavy rains caused flash flooding in Atmore and creeks overflowed in Brewton, East Brewton and Flomaton.
Commissioners said there could be some opportunity to improve area roads and bridges, with part of the cost of upgrades paid by FEMA funding.
Commissioner Larry White agreed.
Damage has caused some travel problems for some homeowners — and for school buses that cannot drive on damaged bridges.
Commissioner Brandon Smith said efforts to rebuild will take some time.
The “proper steps” include a formal FEMA assessment of several sites, Bridges said.
And although FEMA has made the declaration that funding will be made available to the county for repairs, the work will still take money from the county’s coffers.
An estimated $630,000 in county funds will have to be made available once FEMA funding is received in order to complete the work. Bridges said funding from the State of Alabama would be an estimated 10 percent or $420,000.
Some of the areas experiencing road and/or bridge issues in the county include Sardis Church Road, Cow Pen Creek Road, County Road 69 (Damascus Road), Canoe Road North and Smith Dairy Road.