While several roads were closed during September’s flooding, others were damaged by the repeated rainfall of November and December.
Part of Richards Chapel Road, under which runs Sampson Creek, was washed away in early December because the heavy rainfall overloaded the 72-inch diameter corrugated metal pipe under the road, said County Engineer Kevin Walter. The road, which connects Ga. Highway 212 and Bethany Road, has been closed since that time.
He said the pipe simply wasn’t large enough to handle the increased stream flow, and the county is currently having the road and stream flows studied and is working with engineering consultants to design new plans.
Under the county’s current regulations, pipes of this nature are supposed to be concrete, not metal. However, the stream’s increased flow would necessitate two or three pipes; instead the county is considering the installation of a concrete box structure that can handle more water.
Another metal pipe could be installed, but that temporary solution wouldn’t be prudent if it would just wash away again six months later, Walter said.
Walter said the box structure would probably take about 30 days to build and cost $100,000. However, he said because of the weather, construction probably wouldn’t start until March or April.
Once the design is done and bids are sought, the Board of Commissioners will vote on whether to approve the $100,000 of construction work. Walter said at that time he will recommend approval.
He said the road is an important connector between Ga. 212 and Bethany Road, but not many people live on the road itself.
"No one lives on the 212 side of the road, and there are only a half dozen houses on the other side of road. It’s a cut-through road that is convenient, but it’s not a horrible hardship and takes maybe an extra mile to go around," he said. "That’s not good; we want it to be open, but there is no way to make sure it stays open until we have the concrete box structure."
He said there are several residential streets on the south side of Richards Chapel Road that rely on it for access to Ga. 212 or Bethany Road. On the north side of Richards Chapel, Veal Road connects to more residential areas. Finally Bethany Road is a major east-west connector in the county, he said.
Because the road was damaged in December instead of September’s flooding, Walter said the road is unfortunately not eligible to receive any emergency money.