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McEver still closed, fire official reports

POSTED: May 20, 2013 7:01 p.m.
/For The Times

Damage on McEver Road at Mud Creek just south of H.F. Reed Industrial Parkway in Flowery Branch.

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Under sunny skies and no trace of rain, area governments worked Monday to fix roads that had been damaged, some seriously, by fierce storms overnight Sunday.

Workers were able to get some open, but McEver Road, a major West Hall artery near the Oakwood-Flowery Branch border remained closed, Hall County Fire Services officials reported Monday evening.

More work is expected, as Oakwood goes about replacing a failing culvert at Mud Creek.

"We expect to have a cost estimate and schematic design by end of the week," City Manager Stan Brown said. "We will then solicit bids and proceed as expeditiously as possible."

Oakwood Mayor Lamar Scroggs declared the culvert washout a local disaster. Before the disaster, Oakwood was taking steps to replace the culvert. Water had been undermining the road at the creek, causing a noticeable dip in the road.

City Council voted in April to contract with CHA Inc., a national engineering firm with offices in Atlanta, to do preliminary work on the culvert.

Mud Creek runs under McEver Road in a section between Flowery Branch and Oakwood South Industrial Park, which is at H.F. Reed Industrial Parkway/Rafe Banks Drive.

"It’s kind of a swampy area down through there," Brown has said.

Road closures took place after storms dumped 7-plus inches of rain in Flowery Branch within six hours and 3 inches at the National Weather Service automated station at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport in Gainesville.

Other closures included Stephens Road at Pippsissewa Drive, Flowery Road at Spring Street and Lights Ferry at Cove Creek Drive. Trudy Drive off Lights Ferry Road later reopened after a washout there was repaired.

Stephens Road, a major road in West Hall, particularly had significant damage as a gaping sinkhole opened in the two-lane road, cutting off traffic from either end.

"Our crews are working alongside emergency contractors to come up with a plan ... which they hope to have a plan in place in the next 24 hours," said Katie Crumley, Hall County spokeswoman, on Monday.

Jimmy Hightower, Hall’s road maintenance supervisor, said later in the day that officials plan to meet at Stephens Tuesday morning to discuss steps to road rebuilding.

He said the project, which will involve putting in a new box culvert and new pavement, will take at least two weeks to complete.

Elsewhere, Cove Creek Trail was closed Monday to through traffic but passable for residents, and Union Circle has since reopened, Crumley said.

For most of Sunday, Ga. 13 between Wayne Drive, which leads to about a dozen homes, and Moonie’s Texas Barbecue was about 6 feet underwater.

Authorities reopened Ga. 13 between Phil Niekro Boulevard in Flowery Branch and Wade Orr Road near Buford at midnight Sunday.

DOT engineers completed their inspection of the roadway and "the pavement integrity was not compromised," said District Engineer Bayne Smith. "The missing striping was the only damage created by the flooding."


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