Letcher Countians grow frustrated about infrastructure issues after another flood

WYMT Mountain News Weekend Edition newscast at 6 p.m. on Sunday
Published: Feb. 19, 2023 at 6:03 PM EST
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WYMT Weekend Edition News at 11 p.m.

COLSON, Ky. (WYMT) - Recent heavy rain has left communities restarting efforts that began after the July flood.

Temporary bridges have been washed away, leaving some Letcher Countians stranded.

“They’re washed completely out. They have no access. We have no answers for them,” Letcher County District 2 Magistrate Kenny Anderson said.

The temporary bridges replaced permanent crossings that were destroyed in the July flood. Now Lisa Bentley, a Letcher Countian stranded after her crossing was destroyed, has to travel on a long route by foot on a nearby railroad track.

“It’s probably about three or four football fields long,” Bentley shouted from across the river.

Bentley is not the only one caught with no way out. Steep mountains surround Letcher Countian Jeff Sturgill and his family, and their only way out is walking through the creek.

“I was wading the creek to get across and if we go to the store to get groceries or anything, I’ll have to borrow a car,” Sturgill said.

If an emergency situation occurs, ambulances would be unable to get to their house, leaving them in a dangerous position.

“They’re cut completely off. There’s no way to get nothing to them,” Kenny Anderson said.

The Letcher County Fiscal Court declared a state of emergency, but they are waiting for approval from the state and federal government. With that said, they do not have much time to wait.

“We’re hung, you know. We ain’t got no answers yet. We’re waiting, but nobody’s given us an answer yet about what’s gonna be done with this,” Anderson said.

The Letcher County magistrate also said four crossings were destroyed in his district alone.