Jackson County Engineer Jonathan Campbell says the repairs for County Road 17 in Skyline could start in late March or early April, depending on weather, ALDOT requirements and environmental approval to move forward. It has been a year since the road sunk during storms last February.
Campbell said this process has taken so long because the county wants a permanent fix for the road, which has sunk several times in the past. The difference last year was that President Donald Trump declared a major disaster for the flooding, which allows the county to receive funding for repairs.
Campbell said the repair is comprehensive and said the damage was like an injury that needed surgery.
“If we want to fix it properly, often times that means a complex solution based on what’s going on in the ground,” said Campbell.
A geotechnical investigation was conducted and found the issue was more of a sink than a slide, and Campbell said a sink is more complicated to repair.
“We can do what we’ve done for years, which is dig it out and repave it, but these recent storms likely would have caused the road to do the same thing it did last year,” said Campbell.
Commission Chairman Tim Guffey said he was confident that the road would have been damaged again by this week’s storms.
On Jan. 27, the Jackson County Commission approved a proposal to repair County Road 17. In this proposal, a 450-foot section of the road would be excavated about 17 feet, grouted columns would be placed every four feet, the uphill slope would be stabilized, there would be landslide mitigation and it would handle drainage. The road base would be reconstructed, and the road would be repaved.
Campbell said the best-case scenario for the start of repairs would be late March or early April. He said it would take approximately 3 months to do repairs so the road could be rebuilt.
Campbell estimates the project will cost just north of $1 million, and the county would be reimbursed 80% of that. The county will also be responsible for a large portion of the work, which will save the county money. Campbell is hopeful this will put the county in a better position to start on the second road damaged in last year’s floods.