Benton County Road Crews Recognized For Work Following Severe Flooding

BENTON COUNTY (KFSM) -- Workers for the Benton County Road Department are getting recognition for their job after severe flooding ravaged many county roads and bridges.

The University of Arkansas extension office in Benton County and county administrators, along with several local businesses and organizations hosted a lunch for road department employees.

All roads throughout Benton County have reopened since the flooding on April 29.

Benton County Judge Barry Moehring said at one point, nearly 90 percent of county roads had been closed due to rising flood waters.

Three bridges remain closed as the county works with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to secure funding to make needed repairs.

FEMA has taken preliminary reports of damage, but a disaster declaration at the federal level is still needed before any money is funneled to any local projects, Moehring said.

He commended the road department for its job "keeping residents safe."

"These guys worked real hard. By the end of the first week, we were down to only three bridges and just a handful of roads open and we still have a couple of bridges that are going to need some work, but thanks to the work of these guys," Moehring said. "They really did a wonderful job to get people moving."

For the last several weeks, road workers have put in extended shifts with some guys putting in 80 to 100 hour work weeks, but the job is far from over.

"We're just going to keep getting out there and keep doing stuff. It's not really that disheartening," said Jeremiah Thompson, a coordinator for the Benton County Road Department. "If it would stop raining, that would help, because this last bit of rain hurt us to. We're just trying to take care of the problem."

Dan Klingman, senior asset coordinator of the Benton County Road Department, said he's appreciates that the work of all 68 field employees is being recognized.

"I appreciate it. We don't get recognized that much around here," Klingman said. "We usually get complaints. It's nice having people realize what we do."