Lake Lanier has risen to full capacity with the rain that has been received in the area over the past month.
Although we are very thankful for the rain, we have experienced some problems in the county handling the large volume of water. Anyone that has turned on the local news has witnessed the devastating flooding that has taken place in several parts of our state.
What many of you may not know is that Dawson County is one of 21 counties in Georgia to have been approved under the public assistance category by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to receive federal funding as a result of flooding.
During the heaviest rains in September several of our county roads had to be temporarily closed.
Tatum Trail and Turnalay Branch Roads, both located off State Route 136 West of Dawsonville, were closed. Also closed during the storms, were Joe Chester Road located off of Crane Road in Northwest Dawson County and Rosco Collette Road located off Kelly Bridge in western Dawson near the Cherokee and Pickens county lines.
In all three cases the public could still navigate through the area by alternate routes; however, our public works department worked quickly to reopen these roads.
In all three cases the culverts under the roadway could not handle the large volume of water that was flowing through them.
In repairing the roads, we have plans to increase the size of these culverts to help prevent this problem from re-occurring in the future. Also, damaged during the rains were Sweetwater Juno Road, Tanner Hall Road and Bailey Waters Road.
Our local EMA Director Billy Thurmond and Public Works Director David Headley have been working closely with both FEMA and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency to assess the damage.
FEMA has visited Dawson County on several occasions over the past two weeks and has tentatively estimated the cost of our repairs to be about $53,700. We are anticipating that we will receive 75 percent of this funding from FEMA and possibly some additional funding through GEMA. The remaining cost of the repairs will come from our local budget.
Over the past year, the Dawson County Public Works department has worked hard to identify the roadways and culverts that are in need of repair. One way this is being accomplished is by taking an inventory of all of our culverts. Each one has been numbered and ranked from one to five.
One, indicating that it is in good order and does not need maintenance or repairing and five is in need of replacement. We currently have 52,062 feet or 1,101 culverts under county roads throughout the county. Out of this number, seven are ranked at five and 72 are ranked at a number four.
We are currently in the process of working to design replacement options for these culverts and will move toward construction when funds are available. We also plan to do a similar inventory on all county roads in the near future. This will allow us to do a better job planning for the future as we work to improve the county road system.
With the decrease in revenue that has resulted from the downturned economy, we are not able to complete many of our projects as quickly as we would like.
However, we are in the planning process and are continuing to look for new ways to improve our road system.
If you are experiencing any problems with a roadway, call on us. Eddie Savage and our road department employees do an outstanding job, and they take great pride in their work.
We are here to serve each of our residents and visitors that travel through our community.
Kevin Tanner is the Dawson County manager.