Mudslide possibility on I-20

By: Gene Petriello Email
By: Gene Petriello Email

News 12 First at Five, Sept. 26, 2007

Augusta--The face of I-20 is undergoing a drastic change as trees are cut down, replaced by dirt and mulch. We've been dry lately, but any long period of rain this fall could spell problems.

Whether you're driving on I-20 for work, heading home to relax or taking a ride for a night out, the extra dirt on the road and potential rain could make for a bad combination.

Derrick Snead works in the cabinet business and he travels into Edgefield County on I-20. He says if it rains hard enough and this dirt starts moving, it could be a bad combination for him and his customers.

"There's only one thing worse than a mudslide and that's a woman who doesn't have cabinets in her kitchen because they are buried in the mud."

Tonya Sturkie is not just worried about cabinets. When she thinks of mudslides, deadly collisions enter her mind.

"That it could be anyone to tell you the truth. I'd hate to lose my life -- I'd had for anybody to lose their life -- because of it."

Floyd Newman travels all over the country. He's seen mudslides and says it could be a real danger if it happens here.

"It would cause me to stop and wonder: where in the world I was going to and if I was going to get there."

So, what exactly is the possibility if we do get a heavy rain storm for there to be a mudslide on I-20?

"It would be slim to none. We would have to have a monsoon-type rain," says GA DOT Engineer Mike Keene.

Still, it's a possibility. One everyone we talked to is worried about. Especially for Derrick. He pulls a trailer of cabinets behind his truck.

"If we're heading up the I-20 ramp and we get washed out, that's dangerous."

Most of the dirt will soon be covered with mulch to prevent mudslides. There is a silk fence in place -- among other prevention methods -- to separate the mud from the water. All to make sure none of the dirt and mulch end up on the road.

"Unless we get 20 inches of rain in a couple of minutes or an hour, the silk fence should take care of any type of runoff," says Keene.

Of course, safety and traffic are two key responsibilities for everyone involved.


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