Copy of Governor Kay Ivey urges debris removal ‘solution’ for Highway 51 and 169 in Lee County

Local News

LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WRBL) – Monday night, the Lee County Commission is meeting to discuss debris removal along Alabama Highway 51 and 169. It’s been more than two months since the Beauregard Tornados claimed 23 lives, and residents say mounds of debris still littering the side of those state roads are a constant reminder of the catastrophe.

News 3 is following up on the situation; we first shared with you ten days ago. Now, News 3 has learned,  three government entities are working on a solution to clearing the debris. The county commission meets Monday night and FEMA, and  Alabama DOT representatives will be there to work on an agreement and get the debris removed.

Driving down Alabama Highway 51, mounds of storm debris on both sides is an activity Beauregard tornado survivor Janet Baugh avoids.

“It’s just devastation, reminds me of the day the storm hit, and it’s very hard. I don’t drive that way right now,” shared Baugh.

Debris removal efforts remain stalled as the state, County, and FEMA decides what entity will do the work and pay the $40,000-$50,000 price tag.

ALDOT says the County is responsible, claiming FEMA would reimburse.

County leaders say FEMA reps weren’t transparent on how state roads needed to be handled and were concerned if the County cleared a state road and without explicit confirmation, they’d risk losing FEMA’s 75% reimbursement on debris removal along county roads – jeopardizing a million dollars in work.

The situation got the attention of Alabama Governor Kay Ivey.

“The Governor asked that Alabama County Commission Association, Senator Whatley, ALDOT and the Lee county engineer find a solution,” said Commissioner Robert Ham.

News 3 has learned the proposed resolution calls for the County to pick up the debris with a confirmed 75% FEMA reimbursement. The remaining 25% split between County and state.

Ham says Senator Tom Whatley was instrumental in working out a possible solution.

“I enjoyed working on this agreement. I’m committed to getting these three entities together to develop a statewide standard to ensure we quickly address situations like this – should it happen anywhere in the state,” Whatley shared with News 3.

If the agreement is approved and signed at Monday’s County Commission, debris removal will begin ASAP along Alabama Highway 51 and 169.

We will keep you updated.

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