Winter storm leaves mark on SWAR courthouse, roads

Texarkana

MILLER COUNTY, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – A major pipe has burst in the Miller County Courthouse in Texarkana, collapsing ceilings and flooding offices.

Judge Cathy Hardin Harrison said offices from the prosecutor’s office in the basement, to the courtroom on the second floor are damaged.

“As you know, we’ve been doing a lot of renovating and somehow, they’re thinking now we may have more than one pipe burst because somehow, it’s gotten into the HVAC, and the HVAC system is not working, elevator is not working,” Harrison said.

Harrison added that the collector’s office on the first floor has major damage, and it’s hoped that the water didn’t reach the server. She said those records are backed up, and the county is working with the insurance company. Furniture is being moved into the hallways and carpet is being taken out.

Harrison said the county is planning to reopen the courthouse on Monday.

This week’s winter storms have taken a toll on county roads, too, Harrison said. She’s urging people to stay home for safety reasons and to conserve fuel for first responders. “We do have fuel, a fuel tank at the county barn we will be using, and one other gas station has closed down their pumps and is reserving that fuel for first responders until they can get some trucks in,” she said.

She said road crews have been working every day this week with limited equipment, one grader and a sand truck.  “We’re doing the best we can with what we have,” Harrison said.

Harrison emphasized that the county needs new equipment, and the aftermath of the winter storms shows just how badly it’s needed. “Normally the county has four road graders, we’re down to one. I had one to lease-purchase on the agenda last month and it was tabled … we may have to have an emergency quorum court meeting, but we needed that grader. But, it’s all about money and I can’t spend more than what’s in my budget, and I can’t sign a lease-purchase agreement without the consent of the quorum court, so, it’s gonna take the quorum court getting behind me and stepping up and helping us to get some new equipment at the road department,” Harrison said.

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