Damage to Phelps County roads and bridges caused by flooding last week is estimated to be at least a minimum of about $647,000, county commissioners were told earlier this week.
According to minutes from the commission's Aug. 13 meeting, County Road Superintendent Walter Snelson shared numerous photographs of flooding damage to county roads and bridges.
He told the commissioners that as of Tuesday he estimated the current damage to county maintained roads and bridges to be $647,305.
However, Snelson noted that he is unable to estimate the damage to many bridges that are still underwater and will have a better idea once floodwaters recede.
County highway department crews have been working since last week, repairing the damage.
On Tuesday, the commission approved the emergency rental of a motor grader to reduce the time needed to make county roads passable to the traveling public and emergency responders.
Thursday, Snelson told commissioners that he received a list of school bus routes for the Phelps County R-III School District in the Edgar Springs area that his crews used as a guide to repairing roads. Classes began in the district Thursday.
While work is being done to repair the roads and bridges, photographs of the damage have been saved for FEMA officials.
County Clerk Carol Bennett said that she heard from County Emergency Management Director Sandy North that FEMA inspectors are expected to be in the Jerome and Newburg areas Friday for assessments of private property.
North told commissioners at their Aug. 8 meeting that 15 homes in Newburg were evacuated and 29 homes in Jerome were underwater.
It is possible that flood assessments of county roads and bridges would take place next week, Bennett said.
As of Thursday, Phelps County had not received a disaster declaration, which would come from the governor's office. Presiding Commissioner Randy Verkamp was among the area officials who met with Gov. Jay Nixon in Waynesville Aug. 8 for a roundtable discussion about the recent flooding.
The commission at its Aug. 13 meeting issued letters to all residents living in a floodplain in Phelps County, reminding them of the requirements of the county's floodplain ordinance for repairs or reconstruction in a flood zone.
Route D bridge
The Route D bridge over the Gasconade River near Jerome is expected to be open in time for the first day of school in the Newburg R-II School District, Aug. 22.
According to minutes from the Aug. 13 commission meeting, Verkamp was told by Preston Kramer, area engineer with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) that the department requested the contractor to have the bridge open by Aug. 22.
District Two Commissioner Gary Hicks said he was told by the contractor that the water from the flooded Gasconade River and Little Piney Creek reached 2 feet up concrete beams at the bridge, but did not top them.
Page 2 of 2 - "The water came up slow enough that the main debris was flushed away and not hung up," Hicks said at Thursday's commission meeting.
Officials in Pulaski County say at least 90 percent of their roads were damaged by last week's heavy flooding.
Presiding Commissioner Gene Newkirk told KOLR-TV the damage to 65 percent of the roadways in the county is considered major.
About two dozen low-water crossings were washed out and remain closed.
Pulaski County was among the hardest hit by floods that swamped much of southern Missouri amid several days of rain.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.