No timetable yet for Highway 26 reopening

MDOT crews are still assessing the portion of Highway 26 that was washed away a week ago. Andres Fuentes spoke with community leaders on what's next.
Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 6:06 PM CDT
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LUCEDALE, Miss. (WLOX) - It’s been more than a week since heavy rains washed out a portion of Highway 26 in Lucedale, injuring 10 people and killing two others.

“They’re in our prayers, the victims. We know of them personally and it touches home,” George County Supervisor Henry Cochran said.

Two crosses now stand along the Crossroads Methodist Church cemetery, just yards from where Jerry Lee and Kent Brown died.

“It’s just tragic,” George County Sheriff’s deputy Dominique Tanner said.

Vigils and prayer services have since honored those who have been hurt by the disaster as the surrounding communities wonder when one of their major roads will be fixed.

“We don’t have jurisdiction over the state highway,” Cochran said.

Although George County doesn’t oversee the project, officials want to help MDOT with whatever they need.

“We would help any way we could if they were to ask,” Cochran said.

WLOX News Now reached out to MDOT for an update on the project, and a spokesperson said crews are waiting on the results from soil tests that were done late last week.

The Board of Supervisors voted to send a letter to MDOT asking for open communication while they work on the road. Elected leaders said talks with MDOT have been regular but they wanted to send over the letter to make things more official.

“We don’t want to get into MDOT’s business, but just being informed helps a lot,” Cochran said.

Community leaders said they understand that the Highway 26 closure impacts people’s regular routes and they want everyone to remain patient while they get the situation under control.

“It changes everybody’s daily routine and affects everyone enormously,” Tanner said.

Everything from schools to shipping companies now use alternate ways to get to where they are going.

“We can adapt and overcome this, and it’s just going to take a few minor changes in everybody’s life,” Tanner said.

Without a set timetable for the project, community leaders ask that focus remains on those affected by the tragedy.

“Whenever it comes to incidents in this county, everybody comes together,” Tanner said. “Not only did it happen to one family, it happened to multiple families.”

Highway 26 in George County washed away late Monday night following heaving rains from Hurricane Ida, killing two people and injuring 10 others.

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