GEORGE COUNTY, Miss. (WKRG) – Highway 26 in George County bears no risk for drivers after a minor repair on Thursday, according to the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
The repair was done near the same portion of the road that collapsed last August during a landslide after Hurricane Ida dumped 14 inches of rain on the area, killing two and injuring 10 others.
“There are no other concerns at this point. As an additional measure, crews will work to establish grass in the area to help control erosion in the coming weeks,” said transportation supervising engineer Cape Jones.
MDOT used a LiDAR drone to create a three-dimensional map of the terrain, took soil samples and hired a geotechnical consultant for the repair after the collapse. The new roadbed is designed to handle water that drains from the slope 20 feet below the ground, according to MDOT district engineer Kelly Castleberry.
A drainage blanket was installed that included layers of sand and stone and geotechnical fabric that allows water to pass but stops debris and larger particles from entering the drainage system. A bridge at the section of road isn’t possible with no permanent body of water flowing underneath, Castleberry said.
Thursday’s maintenance came after an inspector found a “flare insection,” where a drainage pipe slightly shifted and crews reset it. While the department can’t guarantee the road will remain undamaged after another similarly-sized tropical event, engineers are confident it’s in a better condition than before Ida.
“MDOT-maintained routes undergo formal inspections each month. In addition to these monthly inspections, crews report any potential issues they see when traveling the roadways for maintenance tasks such as mowing and other jobs,” Jones said.
The department has a supervisor stationed in each county. An additional operations supervisor oversees road inspections and maintenance in George, Jackson and Stone counties.
Drivers can report state road hazards or areas of concern at 1-866-521-MDOT(6368), to the District 6 office in Hattiesburg at (601) 544-6511 or through the MDOT Traffic app.