Emergency Program Saves Calhoun County Road
GAINESVILLE, Fl., May 20, 2014—Construction crews are rushing to finish emergency repairs this week on a Calhoun County bridge on County Road 274, two miles southwest of Altha.
During last month’s heavy floods, waters blasted away the earth underneath and on the sides of a large concrete box culvert, threatening to collapse the road overhead. The road is heavily traveled and connects two sides of Calhoun County separated by the Chipola River.
Without the money to make the repairs, county officials requested financial assistance from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. NRCS staff assessed the damage and approved the site for its Emergency Watershed Protection Program. The program helps local sponsors such as cities, counties, conservation districts or tribal organizations with hazards to life and property caused by floods, fires, wind¬storms and other natural occurrences.
“We really appreciate this; one more big rain and it would have been gone, and the fact you could do it quickly makes a big difference,” said Joe Wood, Calhoun County Director of Operations. The project was approved for a total estimate of $100,000, with NRCS funding 75 percent and the county 25 percent. Crews poured concrete into the voids around the structure to secure the roadway and are laying rip-rap rock on the banks to prevent further erosion. They expect to finish by the end of this week.
"This was a very hazardous site that we identified that needed appropriate action as soon as possible," explained NCRS Area Conservationist Jeff Norville. He said NRCS staff will be busy the next few weeks assessing about 20 more sites for assistance in Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Jefferson and Jackson counties.
NRCS Emergency Protection Watershed program contacts:
In Santa Rosa County contact Trent Mathews, 850-623-3229 x109; Escambia County, Josh McElhaney, 850-587-5404 x105; Okaloosa County, Darryl Williams, 850-682-3714 x109; Walton County, Jason Hayford, 850-892-3712 x107; Calhoun County Brian McGraw, 850-674-8271 x104; Holmes County, Greg Nolan, 850-547-2916 x116; Jackson County, Mary Jane Nelson, 850-526-2610 x127; Gadsden County, Karyn Ruiz-Toro, 850-625-6355 x106; Jefferson County, Stephen Tullar, 850-997-4058 x105.
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