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Stephens Road expected to reopen within days
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Stephens Road near Pipsissewa Drive in West Hall County may reopen later this week or early next week, as work is ending on a culvert replacement at Mud Creek.

The road had been closed in that area since a May 19 flood washed out the culvert, leaving a gaping hole where a road had been.

“We anticipate, weather holding, paving it (today),” Jody Woodall of the Hall County engineering department told a group of elected officials making up the Gainesville-Hall Metropolitan Planning Organization’s policy committee meeting Tuesday.

Portions of South and West Hall, Flowery Branch and Oakwood took the brunt of the May 19 storms, with culverts also failing on McEver Road at Mud Creek, as well on Trudy Road, Cove Creek Trail and Malibu Ridge. Also, Ga. 13/Atlanta Highway south of Flowery Branch’s sewer plant was covered in water.

The Georgia Department of Transportation ended up pulling from its Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant emergency fund to provide about $200,000 to Hall, Oakwood and Flowery Branch, DOT spokesman Mohamed M. Arafa said in June.

Woodall said that in the Stephens Road project, the county installed its “typical industrial section” of roadway.
“It’s a heavier section than probably what was out there,” he said. “We do have a lot of vehicular traffic on Stephens.”

The culvert is east of McKenzey Lane and near where Mud Creek spills into Lake Lanier.

Oakwood City Manager Stan Brown also told the policy committee about the city reopening the McEver Road stretch on Aug. 1, a day earlier than expected.

“That happened due to a lot of people working together,” he said, adding that the project involved several utilities and agencies. “There’s a lot that goes into a project like that. It’s not as simple as people might think.”

He said the new culvert already has been tested by heavy rains.

“We were about a foot and a half below having more water come through there than the (two box) culverts can carry,” Brown said.

Heavy rainfalls since May 19 have flushed out other culverts and caused flooding and other damage.

Gainesville officials said Tuesday the city had reopened Lenox Drive off Athens Highway following a monthlong project to rebuild a portion of the road that was undermined following the failure of a storm drain pipe.

Extra measures were taken to ensure the area is stronger than ever, senior civil engineer Stan Aiken said.

“We installed 166 feet of 60-inch reinforced concrete pipe with wing walls to allow for greater capacity,” he said. “We also reconstructed and (put grass on) the embankment, placed riprap in a portion of the channel to protect it from erosion and armored the upstream embankment with riprap.”

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