Dirt roads eaten away by Jeanne - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Dirt roads eaten away by Jeanne

September 28, 2004

Irwin and Tift Counties- There wasn't a creek running through any Irwin County roads until tropical storm Jeanne unleashed inches of rain on the area.

"From four to eight inches is what I've been told so far," says EMA Director Jerry Edwards.

It was just too much water for even these huge drainage pipes on Monroe Road to handle, so the dirt on top of them didn't stand a chance.

"It will probably be weeks before we can get everything because all this water has to dry up before they can even start working to try to get dirt packed back around them and get the pipes checked out and see if they're any good or not."

With more than 200 miles of dirt roads winding throughout the county, Monroe wasn't the only road to succumb to rain water.

"We had about 27 roads yesterday total that we had to close because of water over the road or just like this one where it washed completely out," Edwards says.

Two separate chunks of Walker Road were wiped out, and it could take weeks before public works crews are able to put it back together again.

"It a major expense for the county to have to put all these roads back together."

That expense is something EMA Director Jerry Edwards already says he'll ask both the state and federal governments to help pay for.

Irwin County public works crews worked overtime Monday and Tuesday to get most of the roads re-opened. Schools remained closed Tuesday, but will be open Wednesday.

Dirt roads in Tift County took a beating, too.

Nearly 6 inches of rain fell on the county from midnight Sunday to 6 PM Monday. Several sections of Wiley Branch Road were washed out when a drainage pipe running underneath collapsed.

"We had 17 roads closed at the worst of the flooding and by late Tuesday afternoon we're down to five, so we've made a lot of progress, but that one road with the three cuts, some people cut in the middle couldn't get in or out either direction so they were just basically stuck in their homes," says EMA Public Relations Coordinator David Haire.

What a difference a day makes for homeowners along Richards Drive in Tifton.

Monday, the retention pond behind their homes spilled out just inches from their doorways. Tuesday, you could hardly tell the pond even flooded.

Posted at 5:30 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com