News 12 First at Five / Thursday, June 13, 2013
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW) -- Five Notch Road is finally back open. Now instead of water, cars are flowing through. But, after nearly two weeks of being closed, it's been more than an inconvenience. One man says it was crippling his business.
"It's devastated our business. That's really the only word to use," Four Seasons Food and Fuel owner Jim Crowell said.
The gas station on the corner of Five Notch and Pisgah is a business crippling much like the road after last week's heavy rain.
Five Notch Road has been closed since Monday, June 3rd after a downpour washed out the road rendering it impassable. Now, ten days later, this corner gas station is feeling the effects.
"We never realized how much of our business actually came from that direction down there, and in the past seven days we've realized that it's taken up about two-thirds of our business with that road being closed," Crowell said.
About 8,700 cars drive down Five Notch Road every day. That means Crowell's store has missed out on nearly 61,000 potential customers over the past week. He says if this road doesn't open up soon, it could devastate their business.
That's why South Carolina DOT crews have been out here non-stop, working to re-open one of the main thoroughfares in Aiken County.
"Our guys are stressed out. We're working 10, 11 hours daily," SCDOT Assistant Resident Maintenance Engineer Isaac Rucker said.
The continuing rain, even after they'd started repairs, slowed the process almost to a halt.
"Getting that area filled in and compacted was our biggest dilemma, and while it's raining, you can't do that," he explained.
"This has cost me several, several thousand dollars. I don't know how we're going to come back from it. I still have the bills that I have to pay," Crowell said.
Workers say they know how important this route is, but they say what's even more important is taking the time to do it right.
"We don't want to open it up and it's not safe. With the soft shoulders, anything can happen. Someone can pull over in an emergency and end up in a 20-foot drop to the bottom of a ditch, you know. We don't want that," Rucker said.
Workers say this was one of the worst washouts they've seen, and it's taken a lot of manpower and equipment to get Five Notch Road back in operating condition.
Crews say they still have some finishing touches to do, but the road is now safe and open to the public.