Macon County Chronicle

Macon County Declared Disaster Area

Over 75 bridges and at least 371 miles of roads were affected by the flood waters that swept through Macon County on Saturday, May 2nd, and with an estimated cost of $38.7 million already, President Obama and Governor Bredesen declared our county a major disaster area on Saturday night, May 8th, which brings the total number of counties to 42, with more declarations anticipated in the days to come.

“We still aren’t completely sure what we are facing, considering damage reports continue to come in every day,” said Regina Flippin of the Macon County Highway Department, “and we have just been able to put a band aid on these roads so far where people can at least travel and the EMS can get there if the need arises.”

“Our game plan is do the roads in stages, and after making a sweep across the county as of right now, everything is 4 wheel drive accessible. Next we’ll come back and start trying to build the base of the road, with some requiring up to four or five feet. When it comes to the bridges, there are strict regulations and standards that they have to meet. As far as time wise on repair this could turn into years before completion.”

There were over 30 roads closed as of Monday, May 10th including: Austin Road, Barber Hollow Road, Barefoot Road, Beech Grove Road, Ben Road, Buck Hanes Road, Bush Road, Dance Hall Road, Dark Hollow Road, Gann Hollow, Green Valley Road, Haynestown Bridge, Hoskins Hollow Road, Howell Road, Howt Owl Lane, Lambert Road, Lick Branch Road, Maxie Bluff, McJury Lane, Middle Fork Road, North Springs Road, Oak Knob/Green Valley, Poplar Grove, Puncheon Creek, Reed Lane, Salt Lick Road, Shockley Hill Road, Spivey Lane, Trammel Creek, West Fork Creek Road, Wilderness Lane, Wixtown Road, and Woodard Road.

“With numerous roads and bridges damaged, once again we advise people to precede with caution,” Flippin noted, “and if you see a road that is barricaded or closed, please do not attempt to travel on it, because it is unsafe. As I said before, even though the surface of the road might look okay, the underlining road bed many not be stable. If there is any kind of situation with the roads, please let us know, because the more information we have the quicker they can be assessed and decisions can be made on repair. If you see someone from the Highway Department working on a road, and we pull off for a while, that doesn’t mean that we are finished, but that we will return during the next stage of repair.”

“As Tennesseans recover from this flooding, this disaster declaration will provide much-needed assistance,” said Congressman Bart Gordon. “I encourage Macon County residents to document their property damage and contact FEMA promptly to find our what kinds of assistance might be available to them.”

The disaster declaration makes a range of assistance available for individuals, including grants for home repairs, funding for temporary housing and other major flood-related expenses. Individuals have until July 6, 2010, to apply.

“Local communities face enormous expenses immediately following a disaster,” said Gordon. “Debris removal, repairs to public buildings and overtime wages for emergency personnel can cripple local governments. Federal assistance can help our communities cope with the mounting costs of responding to the flood.”

The Small Business Administration will also work with FEMA to make low-interest loans available to affected businesses, as well as homeowners and renters. Individuals and business owners who register through FEMA may also qualify for this assistance.

Steps for property owners to report flood damage are:

*Contact the Macon County Emergency Management Agency at 666-2190 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Macon through Friday and speak with Keith Scruggs or Don Stevens to report damage.

*Contact your insurance company to determine the extent of your coverage. A list of major homeowner insurance telephone numbers is available at house.gov/bart.

*Contact the Red Cross for immediate assistance and information about other local assistance at (615) 250-4250.

*If the county is declared eligible for assistance, contact FEMA promptly, regardless of the level of insurance on your property, at 1-800-621-FEMA or at www.fema.gov.

“The Macon County Highway Department is working extended hours,” said Flippin, “and we will be in the office from 6:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. each day, so please contact us at 615-666-3910 or stop by the office at 884 Old Highway 52, near the airport, for information or an update on the situation.”