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Quad Oaks residents stuck after rain washes out culvert
Power, water service out at Flowery Branch apartments
Workers build a temporary road Wednesday afternoon for Quad Oaks apartments residents. Heavy rain overnight washed out a culvert under Spring Street in Flowery Branch, cutting off about 50 units.

FLOWERY BRANCH — All Tami Earl and neighbors at Quad Oaks apartments could do Wednesday was sit and wait.

Overnight heavy rains washed out a culvert under Spring Street just before the road dead-ends into the 50-unit complex, causing the portion of the road that crosses Mulberry Creek to collapse.

To make things worse, residents lost power and water.

"I’m fine right now," Earl said about noon. "I’d like to take a shower."

Many residents passed the time standing at the edge of the gaping hole that was their street and watched as workers dug around the fast-moving creek and drove heavy machinery to build a temporary bridge.

"Our biggest concern is (emergency medical services) and fire protection," Hall County Fire Chief David Kimbrell said.

City Manager Bill Andrew, who estimated damage at $35,000 to $50,000, said he learned about the road collapse at about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The culvert that washed away, coming to rest on a creek bank, is 5 feet wide and 40 feet long.

"What’s odd is that there’s a (5-foot) culvert upstream that did not have any breaching and there’s a large culvert downstream where the water went over the road, so between those two areas, something happened," Andrew said.

A blockage of some kind may be the culprit. He said that on neighboring property where a city well sits, water was up to 2 feet in height.

The flooding was produced by heavy storms that slammed Georgia overnight, adding to a steady rain that fell on Tuesday, amounting to about 2.5 inches overall, according to the National Weather Service in Peachtree City.

More than an inch fell between midnight and about 7 a.m., according to the weather service.

Earl said she knew something was wrong about 6:30 a.m., when she discovered she had no water to take a shower. Then, she said, the power went out, and she later discovered that the road had washed out.

By the afternoon, she was talking by phone with family, who had arrived and were standing near workers. Her sister-in-law, Kimberly Earl, said family members were trying to figure a way to get some food over to their relatives.

"There’s a couple of workers jumping down there and passing (food) over (to residents)," she said.

When she arrived earlier in the day and saw the damage, "I was amazed. It’s a good thing something didn’t happen to someone (trying to) go over (the stream crossing)," Kimberly Earl said.

Andrew said he believes the Spring Street segment could be repaired in two or three days, "depending on how long it takes the pipe to cure."

As far as weather cooperating, conditions will be sunny but cold, with high temperatures in the 40s, through Friday, according to the weather service’s forecast.

Rain is likely on Saturday, however, and could continue on Sunday.

Elsewhere in Hall, one area on Pierce Drive, between Bolding and Poplar Springs roads, was washed out, "but they have access either way," Kimbrell said.