Cemetery flooded and bridge washout: Callaway feeling the impacts of heavy rainfall

Local News

CALLAWAY, Fla. (WMBB) — The city of Callaway is feeling the after-effects of Thursday morning’s heavy rain from a flooded cemetery to a washed-out bridge.

Callaway officials said replacing the Berthe Avenue Bridge was already a high-priority project. But after Thursday’s rain, now the need is even greater.

“We do have 100 percent plans for everything that’s being done here now it’s just a matter of timing and of course this rainfall coming through like it did this morning — I would love to say it sped the time frame up but we’re just at the mercy of time right now and the rain it just — it caught us,” said Callaway City Manager, Ed Cook. “It caught us.”

Cook said they have never seen water come up as high as it did over the bridge Thursday. The bridge washed out in two spots forcing the city to close it indefinitely.

“People have got to be able to get back and forth to go around is — it’s very cumbersome to have to go all the way it’s a long trek,” Cook said. “It’s going to be an inconvenience but just know we’re going to be working on this every day until this thing is safe enough to open back up.”

Not only is Callaway dealing with Berthe Bridge, the Callaway Cemetery flooded and a casket was pushed out of the ground.

“I will have to say my worst nightmare came true with having a casket come up out of the ground,” Cook said.

Cook said the city is trying to come up with a plan to prevent this from happening again.

“Unfortunately even if those ditches were in place now, the ditches would just be full of water because I can put in all the holes, and stormwater ponds and detention ponds for everything you can imagine at this point with the water table so high the water is just sitting still and that’s what we’re trying to do is come up with a more long term plan,” Cook said.

Callaway resident, Ann Kirkpatrick, has family buried in the Callaway Cemetery. Some of her family went and stopped by after they heard about the casket coming out of the ground to check on their plot.

“Well you can’t rest until you do come and make sure because you know the condition of the cemetery,” Kirkpatrick said. “Even in normal weather and this is unusual but even in hard rains we have a problem out here on a regular basis.”

Cook said construction projects are taking longer and prices are through the roof. However, he adds they won’t let that stop them from doing everything they can to move forward with the Berthe Bridge replacement.

As for the cemetery, he said they are going to continue to work on stormwater issues in the area to mitigate the flooding issues.

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