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Commissioners vote to close roads
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County commissioners voted last week to officially close two roads that were impacted by summer flooding until a time when funds are available to make repairs.

In separate unanimous actions, commissioners agreed that it would better serve the county to close Etowah River Road and Hubbardsville Circle than to legally abandon the two.

Closing the roads gives county officials an option of making repairs that would allow the roads to reopen, while legally abandoning the roads does not.

The county could also lose state funding by abandoning the roads, according to District 2 Commissioner James Swafford.

"I would be more inclined to go ahead and close the road ... and then we could do [a study on the repair costs] and make a determination then," he said.

District 1 Commissioner Gary Pichon said he preferred to close the section of Etowah River Road "until those funds can be made available, either through SPLOST or some other mechanism in the future."

After discussion with the Environmental Protection Division and Army Corps of Engineers, as well as fish and wildlife officials, county staff has said repair costs could exceed $500,000 depending on design and regulatory requirements due in part to the roads proximity to the adjacent Etowah River beds.

The cost to repair the bridge on Hubbardsville Circle is also expected to be significant, though a formal bid estimate has not been concluded.

Pichon said while residents living near Etowah River Road have expressed concern that the road is closed as it offers connectivity between Hwys. 53 and 136, he has heard no comments from the Hubbardsville Circle community. Hubbardsville Circle provides access to the Riverbend Gun Club but no residential properties.

"It's not a key road to us. It doesn't look to me like it's going to be a key road to us. The only folks that are interested, seems to me, about that bridge might be two or three people that farm there," he said.

The closure on Etowah River Road also 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," county officials have said.