A $150,000 state grant will be used to repair Nelson Road in Baldwin County, which has been closed since heavy rains caused major damages to it earlier this year.
More than 50 counties across Georgia experienced extensive flooding from rains from January through March, according to Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell R. McMurry.
The local grant, awarded by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), will be used to build a new concrete culvert to replace a corrugated pipe that was badly damaged during the storm, according to Baldwin County Manager Carlos Tobar.
Tobar said county officials reached out to state Sen. Burt Jones (R-Jackson) and state Rep. Rick Williams (R-Milledgeville) for additional funding.
“Through their efforts, GDOT awarded Baldwin County a $150,000 grant for the repair work on Nelson Road,” Tobar told The Union-Recorder.
The new concrete culvert will be a permanent solution to the problem that has forced the closure of Nelson Road for the past several months.
Nelson Road is located near the Baldwin-Jones county line.
Ga. Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order declaring a State of Emergency in more than 50 counties across the state that experienced significant road problems or closures due to the storms.
Nelson Road wasn't the only road closure in the county. Bonner Road also experienced damages from the rains and has remained closed since earlier this year.
Tobar said he and county commissioners are hopeful that future grant funding will become available so repairs can be made to Bonner Road.
“We’re doing everything we can do to try and get that road repaired and reopened again, too,” Tobar said.
After the governor’s State of Emergency declaration, officials with the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA/HS) reached out to officials in the affected counties for damage assessments.
Leading the way in the process in Baldwin County was Wayne Johnson, director of the Baldwin County Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency.
Once the assessments were completed in all of the affected counties in Georgia, state officials assessed the damages but determined the amount did not meet the required threshold for emergency assistance funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“In an effort to determine other possible state funding sources for counties, which would support needed emergency repairs, the GDOT gathered the information counties provided during the initial GEMA/HS assessments and requested additional information where needed,” according to a state press release. “With strong support from GDOT board member Jamie Boswell, and other representatives from the State Transportation Board of Georgia, the department reviewed the county information provided, focusing on material costs, such as pipe and culvert repairs and gravel for dirt roads.”
Officials said the repair funding will come from the GDOT’s Local Maintenance & Improvement Grant (LMIG) Program.
Tobar said GDOT had committed up to $150,000 or 70 percent of the contract costs, whichever is less, to make the necessary repairs on Nelson Road.
“We are very grateful for this grant from GDOT,” Tobar said. “And now we’re hoping we can find money for the repairs to Bonner Road and get it back reopened.”