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'All just floating away.' These roads remain closed as crews continue repairing mess left behind by weekend rains
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Workers repair a portion of Persimmon Tree Road, between Ga. Highway 52 and Belton Bridge Road, on Oct. 12, 2020. The road flooded and washed out, the shoulder crumbling into a creek below, overnight Oct. 10, 2020, during heavy rains brought by the remnants of Hurricane Delta. - photo by Thomas Hartwell

Katie Irvin and her family woke Sunday, Oct. 11, to find Mud Creek Road in Alto living up to its name. 

The family received messages from other family members that morning asking if they were OK. Though the water has since receded, the heavy rains made the road impassable. 

"It was very nerve-wracking to wake up and see all that and to not know if you're going to have a driveway, if you're going to be able to get out, because we don't have another way to get out," Irvin said. 

As they surveyed the damage, they saw part of the road missing, the pasture flooded and their fence destroyed. 
"It is very disheartening when you've worked so hard and you just kind of see it all just floating away," she said. 

Mud Creek Road flood

A portion of Mud Creek Road was flooded after heavy storms over the weekend Oct. 10-11, 2020. Video courtesy Katie Irvin.

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A large rain band associated with Hurricane Delta brought the widespread heavy rain and some tornadoes across the state, with some areas of North Georgia seeing up to 6 inches of rain overnight, according to Sid King, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Peachtree City office. Wind speeds were not a major impact in Hall, King said. Winds reached about 20 mph during the peak of the storm overnight. 

Hall County Fire Services division chief Zach Brackett said the county experienced 3-4 inches of rain over several hours after midnight Saturday that led to flooding and roads washing out.  

Brackett said northeastern Hall County was hit particularly hard by the weather, which is where a majority of the flooding and washed-out roads are.   

Multiple roads in Hall County have been closed because of flooding and washout, according to county officials. The following remained closed as of Tuesday evening: 

  • Hensley Road at Latty Road 

  • Forrester Road near Belton Bridge Road 

  • Belton Bridge Road near Belton Bridge Park 

  • B Clark Road 

  • Webb Girth Road 

  • Mud Creek Road at Mud Creek  

  • Harrington Road 

    Victoria Lane

A small group of workers, including Jason Teague, crew chief for the county's stormwater department, had mostly repaired a portion of Persimmon Tree Road between Ga. Highway 52 and Belton Bridge Road in northeast Hall County by Monday afternoon. It reopened after 4:30 p.m., according to Hall County Emergency Management Agency Director Casey Ramsey. 

As Teague reviewed the damage and the repairs to the rural back road that runs over a creek, he pointed to the large culvert under the road that he said had been overrun by "such a large amount of water in such a short period of time." He said as some areas of the county received up to 6 inches of rain in about 24 hours, the stormwater infrastructure was overcome on some roads.  

"Normally, even with a hard rain, it doesn't get over the road," Teague said, gesturing to the shoulder of Persimmon Tree Road that a crew had just repaired. He said the water had begun to work its way under the asphalt, threatening to let the road crumble as others in the county did, before it was fixed. 

Ramsey said Tuesday that repair work was underway at Harrington Road, and work will begin Wednesday, Oct. 14, at Mud Creek Road. Ramsey said he estimated a week of work before Mud Creek Road is finished. 

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Mud Creek Road, near Mud Creek in northeast Hall County, remained closed on Oct. 12, 2020, two days after it flooded during heavy rains brought by Hurricane Delta. - photo by Thomas Hartwell

The county also started cleaning up Belton Bridge Road and will begin site preparations Wednesday, Ramsey said. 

Ramsey said Tribble Gap Road also reopened after 4:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 12. 

Woodlin Road was reported as being reopened around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13. 

Ramsey said it could be several days to possibly weeks to fix the remaining spots around the county. 

“Some of them were completely washed out, so the road was completely removed in some areas. That’s where it becomes a lengthy process,” Ramsey said. 

Some of the areas that were hit hardest had 5-6 inches of rain between two to three hours, and the water flowing through the culvert was more than it could handle, Ramsey said. 

“As the force of that water pushes around those culverts, it just erodes away and then ultimately causes a failure of the road,” he said. 

Ramsey did not have an estimate of what the repairs would cost the county.  

Victoria Lane in Lula washed out over the weekend as well. The Lula City Council voted Monday to hire Griffin Brothers Inc. for repairs for $91,945.40. 

Digital Editor Thomas Hartwell and reporter Megan Reed contributed to this report. 

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Hall County Emergency Management Agency Director Casey Ramsey, left, and Jason Teague, crew chief for the Hall stormwater department, inspect a portion of Persimmon Tree Road that washed out during heavy rains overnight on Oct. 10, 2020. The road was still being repaired on Oct. 12. The rains, brought by the remnants of Hurricane Delta, destroyed the shoulder of the road and washed out a drainage pipe below. - photo by Thomas Hartwell
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