LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - A pair of neighborhoods in Lamar County will soon be outfitted with locking gates near spillways to help keep residents safe during severe weather events.
With a 5-0 vote, the Lamar County Board of Supervisors approved the placement of locking gates for spillways in the Lake Serene and Canebrake subdivisions.
"We put up roadblocks, or barricades, warning motorist of the pending danger, and then motorist are still going around them, which is very dangerous," said Lamar County Administrator Jody Waits.
With their vote and support for making the roadways safer, county workers will begin on permanent blockades.
"It allows us to put permanent blockades there that would only be closed and locked during flooding or ice events, and would be very limited as to who had the ability to close or open those gates," said Waits.
Lamar County Road manager Tommy Jones said the blockades are a necessity in the two neighborhoods.
"Folks have no idea how deep that water is, a lot of times they will be in the water before they realize how deep it is," Jones said. "So, what we're trying to do is to make sure everyone remains safe. I mean at Canebrake there was over eight inches of water that was coming across the spillway recently."
He added that roadblocks tie up manpower of deputies and simply aren't helping.
"If we go out and set up barricades, they'll either run over the barricades or move the barricades and go through," Jones said. "This way it's going to be a permanent solution so when that gates shut, nobody's going to be going through it and make sure that its ensuring the safety of the motoring public."
The locking gates will be made in-house and are a simple design.
"It'll be a gate that is highly reflective, will have reflection all over it," said Jones. "We'll actually have signs mounted to it, highly reflectivity signs, noting that it's a flood event that is happening to prevent anybody from coming through that area."
Jones said the gates will be installed near the spillways in the coming months once they are built.