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Flowery Branch OKs emergency culvert repair
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A declaration of emergency was approved Thursday, June 7, by the Flowery Branch City Council that would allow the city to hurry up repairing a culvert on Cantrell Road that washed out during recent heavy rains. - photo by Jeff Gill

A declaration of emergency was approved Thursday, June 7, by the Flowery Branch City Council that would allow the city to hurry up repairing a culvert on Cantrell Road that washed out during recent heavy rains.

Basically, the move would allow the city to skip the state-mandated 30-day bid period and hire a contractor.

“This is an issue of time,” City Manager Bill Andrew told the council.

Several utility lines are exposed, “and until (the road) is repaired, that would be the case,” he added. “... We need to do this as soon as possible.”

The culvert near Cemetery Road, just south of Atlanta Highway/Ga. 13, blew out in heavy rains that swept through the area overnight June 1. The collapse didn’t strand any residents, but Cantrell Road serves as a connector between Atlanta Highway and Thurmon Tanner Parkway.

The city had already budgeted $450,000 for the project, as the city has been eyeing fixes to culverts along Flowery Branch Creek. Andrew estimated the costs could now be about $550,000 because of an increase in steel and concrete prices.

Funding is coming from the city’s special purpose local option sales tax money and other funds.

Flowery Branch had pre-applied in February for a Georgia Emergency Management Agency grant to help pay for improvements, but applications won’t be accepted until fall, Andrew told the council.

However, the city still could pursue the grant to help pay for culvert work on East Main Street and Phil Niekro Boulevard, which also cross the creek. Phil Niekro is a particularly busy and vital artery, as it connects downtown to Interstate 985 and also becomes Spout Springs Road.

The Cantrell repairs could start soon, with project pricing as early as today, Andrew told the council.

Andrew has said he expects the road itself will be impassable for three to four months.

Cantrell suffered damage during Flowery Branch’s last major rain event in 2013, the last time Spring Street blew out in the city, Andrew said. At that time, the city and its contractor found the Cantrell Road culvert had also been damaged but was not at risk of immediate failure.

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