Some Whitfield residents stranded

Some Whitfield residents stranded

December 10th, 2009 by Andy Johns and Kelly Jackson in News

Staff Photo by Kelly Jackson County crews are working around the clock to open part of a new bridge at Vinewood Drive, located off Foster Road in the county. About 4 inches of rain fell Tuesday night, causing Drowning Bear Creek to rise and destroy about 30 feet of road.

Staff Photo by Kelly Jackson County crews are working...

DALTON, Ga. -- Heavy rains overnight Tuesday washed out two Whitfield County roads, leaving some residents stranded since early Wednesday morning.

County Emergency Services Director Jeffrey Putnam said a round culvert failed beneath the roadway where Drowning Bear Creek crosses under Vinewood Drive off Foster Road. Another culvert failed where Swamp Creek crosses under Stover Creek Road off Red Wine Cove Road in the south end of the county, he said.

The roads washed away, leaving gaps more than 30 feet wide in each. Residents living on both roads were unable to drive out, authorities said. Residents on Stover Creek Road couldn't even walk out to other roads.

"The creek separates them from any other road," he said. "Other than walking through the water, there's just no other way for them to get to a road."

Stover Creek Road resident John Owen said 20 to 25 of his neighbors living in the area were OK and haven't lost power or water service.

Mr. Putnam said county public works crews are "working around the clock" to make both roads passable, but he wasn't sure when the roads would be open.

Cecil Freeman, who lives on Vinewood Drive, said his road already has collapsed a few times this year.

"Last night, it finally just gave out on us completely," he said.

Vinewood Drive residents were without water service for much of the day before Dalton Utilities repaired the lines.

Elsewhere in Northwest Georgia, trees fell across roads and creeks swelled. Raccoon Creek in Chattooga County and East Chickamauga Creek in Ringgold both jumped their banks.

Some Chattooga residents near Haywood Valley Road and Dry Creek Road were able to get to work Wednesday morning, but they faced flooded roads as they tried to get home in the evening. Two roads remained closed because of standing water around 5 p.m.

Walker County crews also spent most of Wednesday clearing trees from roads, including Nance Drive and Old Chattanooga Valley Road.

Officials in Walker, Catoosa and Chattooga counties said no damage or injuries had been reported.

In Whitfield County, a small culvert on Frazier Drive SE, a private road, also washed out Wednesday. Mr. Putnam said residents worked to fix it as well.

Numerous roads around Northwest Georgia were closed in the morning but reopened by the afternoon.

The National Weather Service forecast for Dalton calls for mostly sunny skies today and Friday, with rain possibly returning Saturday.