Jackson County crews continue to make Nate repairs as hurricane season ends

Jackson County crews continue to make Nate repairs as hurricane season ends
Hurricane season may be over, but crews in Jackson County are still repairing roads and drainage systems damaged by Hurricane Nate. (Photo source: WLOX)

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Hurricane season may be over, but crews in Jackson County are still repairing roads and drainage systems damaged by Hurricane Nate. Construction crews are currently working to make permanent repairs to Belle Fontaine Drive in Jackson County.

"If we don't have a permanent repair and we get a high tide with a southeast wind it's going to cut the road in half again," Road Manager Joe O'Neal said.

O'neal said the road was severely damaged in three places during Hurricane Nate, and was almost impassible after the storm.

"Normally we've had washouts on this road in one particular area. That area was fine, the washouts in Hurricane Nate were in a different location and have caused problems for the people that live down here," O'Neal noted.

Assistant Road Manager Butch Loper said Nate caused more damage to the area than Hurricane Katrina did.

"The surge from Nate got just to the right height that it cut in some canyons that weren't here before and with the spring tides, that's going to cause a continuous influx of water back and forth," Loper explained. "The difference is, after Katrina there wasn't anything out here. The situation now is, if we don't correct this we're going to have ongoing continuous problems."

County officials say they're working on engineering designs for Belle Fontaine Drive, with the hope of getting a plan in place after the first of the year to make permanent repairs before spring.  O'neal said without the proper repairs, residents near Belle Fontaine Beach could find themselves on an island.

Repair designs are still being finalized, so there is no final cost estimate at this time. We did find out from MEMA that federal infrastructure funds will be available to help with repairs. But that assistance is only available to local governments in approved counties, not to individuals.

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