Hancock County community demanding safer road outlets

Hancock County community demanding safer road outlets
Residents of White Cypress Lakes say the dam in the lake is damaged, and is creating a hazard to the only remaining passage out of their neighborhood.

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Residents of the White Cypress Lakes community in Hancock County are angry.

When it rains, they could be trapped. The only crossing out of their neighborhood easily floods, and as they describe, it's beginning to crumble right before their eyes.

A bridge was the preferred route out of the eastern section. "That bridge has been out since November," said resident Monica Haydel. "There's no other way around. This is our way through."

Its closure was mandated by the state and federal government for safety. The alternate route for now a road over a dam. "I feel trapped all the time," said Ron Bass. "I wonder if this thing's going to hold."

Residents say it's broken, and the spillway is crumbling. "This dam overflows," said Tracey Hebert. "This [past] Saturday, a lot of people couldn't get in and out because of the water coming over the dam. This part of the dam is sinking. It's been sinking since 2006 since I've lived here."

They say driving the road is only going to get more dangerous because the infrastructure needs to be fixed.

"If not, they're going to have to come in here and put approximately three times long of spillway in this lake to be able to get rid of the water," said resident Bobby Foust.

Mary Fettet is frustrated and worried. "We're just afraid," she said. "We've got a school bus that comes across this twice a day. I know of one man that drives an 18-wheeler across it twice a day. You know, it's just... I'm looking for any day someone to wind up down there in the pond."

Many residents said the county is responsible. "One of these days, somebody's going to get trapped in here and die in here because they can't get out of here because of the county," said Lawrence Carter, a resident for 30 years. "Then, I'll bet you their eyes will wake up."

Board of Supervisors President Blaine LaFontaine said the lake and the dam are privately owned and the county only assists with road maintenance over the dam.

Carter has a problem with that. "When you start running ambulances, police, school buses on it, and everybody else, this is public road," he said. "Public road is to be kept up by the county."

"Everybody here is taxed," Carter added. "So, we need to get something for our money."

LaFontaine said bids will be awarded to rebuild the bridge bigger and higher for an estimated $400,000. Construction will take 90 to 120 days.

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