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County considering road closures due to flooding

POSTED: October 2, 2013 4:00 a.m.

Two county roads damaged by severe flooding over the summer may not be repaired and reopened.

Commissioners on Thursday will be faced with the options - to close Etowah River Road and Hubbardsville Circle or legally abandon the two.

While abandoning the roads, which shuts off permanent public access, would be the less expensive route in the long term because the county would no longer be responsible for its maintenance, closures would enable the county to repair and reopen the roads when funding becomes available.

County Engineer Corey Gutherie said there are pros and cons for each option.

"Pros to closing the roads are you can elect to reopen it when the funds are available to repair it. But once you abandon it, you can't go back," he said.

The cost to repair the two roads is estimated at almost $500,000 each, much more than the $200,000 emergency road assistance grant the county received from the state transportation department following the flooding, which damaged in total more than two dozen local roads.

"Seeing as how the damage to Etowah River Road far exceeded the $200,000, we feel the need to allocate that to other things," Gutherie told commissioners last week.

Located off Cowart Road near the Dawson-Cherokee County line, Hubbardsville Circle provides access to the Riverbend Gun Club but no residential properties.

According to Gutherie, the road sustained damage during the May 19 storm but remained functional. A second storm in August caused the bridge to separate from its foundation.

Gutherie said the cost to repair the road could reach $400,000.

Etowah River Road between Hwy. 136 and Cothran Road reportedly sustained the most severe damage due in part to its proximity to the adjacent Etowah River beds.

After discussion with the Environmental Protection Division and Army Corps of Engineers, as well as fish and wildlife officials, county staff determined repair costs could exceed $500,000 depending on design and regulatory requirements.

The damaged area, Gutherie said, has no impact on residents and "all emergency access remains intact due to the alternate routes on the north and south side of the road."

The commission will vote on the measure during Thursday's regular meeting at 6 p.m. at the Dawson County Government Center.




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