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County asks for DOT aid
Needs $600K for repairs from storm
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Early estimates are showing Dawson County suffered nearly $600,000 in storm damage from heavy rainfall last month that flooded areas along the Etowah River and washed out several roads.

Dawson County Manager Cindy Campbell said the county has requested $585,000 in assistance from the Georgia Department of Transportation for repairs.

"We estimate the total damages to be about $585,000. It could still be more damage that we just haven't identified yet, but that's where we stand at this point," she said.

The storm dumped more than 6 inches of rain in less than seven hours May 19 forced several roads, including a gravel section of Etowah River Road that washed away in the storm, to close.

At issue in rebuilding the shoulder and replacing the gravel section that washed away is that crews will need to work in the creek bed, which requires permission from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Valley Road was also closed after a pipe that was set to be replaced later this year collapsed in the storm.

A pipe also failed on Grant Road West, and the river bottoms along Hwy. 9 South at the Etowah flooded, with River Park, a county-maintained canoe put-in, under nearly 5 feet of water.

Howser Mill Road, Lumpkin Campground Road South, Hugh Stowers Road and Steve Tate Highway also were affected by the heavy rainfall, according to County Engineer Corey Gutherie.

"We are still assessing damages. There could be other areas we haven't been able to identify yet," he said.

The estimated amount for damages the county is requesting from the department of transportation does not include the cost to repair a sinkhole near Ga. 400 that collapsed due to the heavy rain.

The commission declared a local emergency to fast-track the bidding process in an effort to avoid additional issues with the sinkhole.

"It has the potential to drag utility lines into the ground if not repaired quickly," said Dawson County Attorney Joey Homans. "We need to go repair the sinkhole and we just don't have the time to do the normal bid [process]."

On Friday, the county received quotes to repair the project with Townley Construction submitting the low bid at $145,125.

County officials are working with the property owner and Etowah Water and Sewer Authority on the project and to determine which party will be responsible for the repairs.

"We are continuing to review other property owners who may have some responsibility for helping pay the cost. We'll also be contacting the various insurances that are available to us to help recoup any part of that cost that we can," Homans said.

The more pressing issue, he added, is to stabilize the area "so we don't wind up with damage to private property or somebody getting hurt as a result of the washes."