A clogged culvert is said to be the culprit that caused some homeowners on Gillespie Street in Indianola to feel a little more waterlogged than other area residents after last week’s torrential rainfall.
The heavy rains and subsequent storms left up to a half-foot of floodwater in some homes on the north side of the street.
Resident Hezzie Murry reported around six inches of water inside of his home in the 100 block of Gillespie.
“It is worse than ever,” Murry said, “I had just redone my floors.”
He said the large amount of debris and trash that has been allowed to accumulate and block the mouth of an under-the-road culvert that runs along MS-448 at Clover Drive is the problem.
According to him, the clog prevented the runoff water from flowing and that forced the large drainage ditch that runs behind his property to back up and overflow, which left the rising water with no other recourse but to back up into his and his neighbors’ yards and homes.
Murry said he contacted Indianola Public Works officials about the problem, but public works employees explained that there was nothing they could do at the present, because the city does not have the necessary equipment.
Robert Spurlock, Field Operations Supervisor, said that although the city has a backhoe, the equipment is not capable of reaching over into the deep ditch to extract the clog and he added that with the amount of rain that fell in the city last week and how quickly it descended, there was nothing the city could do about the flooding.
Spurlock surmised that a private contractor with a crane may need to be called in.
The recent flooding has also presented a new question.
Whose ditch is it?
Spurlock’s original opinion was that the ditch was on a state highway right of way, which means that the Mississippi Department of Transportation should be responsible for maintaining it.
However, when The E-T spoke to MDOT Supervisor Robert Lewis, he stated that his belief was that the maintenance of the ditch is the city’s responsibility. Although, he did acknowledge that the guardrail along that stretch of highway is on MDOT’s easement.
For the sake of accuracy, he decided to research the matter and according to Spurlock, Lewis reported back to him that the ditch is actually supposed to be maintained by the County, which came as a surprise to County Road Manager T.J. Fairley.
Fairley stated that he was unaware of that and would need to check in to it to be sure.
However, he speculated that the section of roadway in question is likely the City of Indianola’s responsibility and not the county’s since it is inside of the city limits.
Nevertheless, Fairley said that he would have to see it first.
Lewis too maintained that the ditch is inside of the city limits and on the city’s right of way. Despite that, he said MDOT tries its best to assist the municipality whenever possible and was out on Friday helping out the city.
Aside from the confusion over who is responsible for maintaining the ditch, the issue appears to be the drop-off along that section of roadway.
It is too deep for the backhoes that the city or the local MDOT office have, and Lewis ascertained that it would likely require a trackhoe to be able to reach and remove the debris.