JENKINS CO., Ga. (WJBF)– Jenkins County Emergency Management Agency has been working on a storm preparation project for over a year.
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The director, Alvin Burke, says they’ve repaired about 45 dirt roads since the last major storm hit in February 2020, and they’ve added more road piping for better drainage to make road flooding less likely.
“We had a lot of flooding, a lot of road damage in 2020,” Burke said. “A lot of washed out roads. So we have replaced a lot of the drain lines under the roads, the drain pipes and all.”
Many roads in Jenkins County are dirt roads, which are most vulnerable to flooding. With all the bodies of water in the area, beavers have built dams around the roads, making them even more vulnerable.
“Well the beaver dams and all, especially on your culverts going under your roads, beavers love to build dams,” Burke said. “And what it is, it restricts the water flow, so then the water doesn’t go under the road, it goes over the road. If you got dirt roads it washes them out, if you got paved roads– county paved roads– then the water runs over the roads and it makes it hazardous for passing.”
He says they’ve trapped countless beavers and removed multiple dams from nearby roadways in preparation for the storm.
Tropical storm Elsa is expected to hit Jenkins County in the wee hours of Thursday morning, and Burke says he feels confident in their preparation.
“All of our road crews– they are on call. They’re going to be on call all through the night,” Burke said. “Like I say, we’ve got back hoes located in separate parts of the county for quick fixes or quick ditching off the water to keep the roads passable for emergency vehicles.”
But Burke says he encourages people to stay off the roads as much as possible, and if you live in a mobile home, to stay with a friend.
“I don’t encourage anybody to try to drive through this storm tonight if they don’t know the roads anyway,” Burke said
A Jenkins County resident who lives off one of the dirt roads that underwent construction says he’s seen zero flooding on his road since the new drains were installed about three months ago.