Rains cause another sinkhole to open up in Hephzibah

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, July 12, 2013

HEPHZIBAH, Ga. (WRDW) -- It has rained for 13 days straight across the area and that rain has been especially hard on roads.

A new sinkhole on Mims Road in Hephzibah is taking a large part of the road and even the trees with it.

Neighbors say this has been a problem area for a while.

"When you're pulling something that weighs 16 to 17,000 pounds behind a truck that size it's kinda spooky coming down that hill," said Al Carpenter who lives on the road.

He lives at the top of the hill and says the area at the bottom has always been bad.

"They had barricade ribbon down there last month where a small portion of it washed out then," he said.

On Friday, it got a lot worse, and neighbors were not surprised.

"Not [with] as much water as we've been having," Carpenter said.

"We have slowly watched this area at the pond. You could see the asphalt sinking," said Carolyn Mims Bagwell, who also lives on the road.

A sinkhole opened up, pulling trees and a large chunk of the road into the flooded creek below.

Waters always flowed underneath the road from the pond on the other side, but as the rains came down, the water level went up, washing out more than the road could handle.

"With the tremendous amount of rain we've seen, we've had sinkholes popping up all over town," said Richmond County Engineering Manager Wes Byne. "We've had flooding and drainage problems throughout the area."

Richmond County engineering got multiple calls Friday about sinkholes.

"Most of the time you see an indication that something's going on," Byne said. "You see cracks in the asphalt or you see some indication that there's a problem. It's just being a heads-up and an aware driver."

He says they'd like to be able to prevent all the sinkholes by fixing the drainage, but that takes time and money.

"Certain drainage structures are older," Byne said. "They're all slated for replacement at some point, but there's many of them and there's an order in which they get replaced."

Unfortunately, the one on Mims Road just didn't get fixed soon enough.

The road is closed for about a quarter mile. They say as the rain keeps coming and the water keeps rising, this road could continue to wash out even more.

They say it will be closed for two to three weeks as they work on repairs, which will include fixing the pipes and then figuring out what to do with the road.

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