RICHMOND COUNTY, GA – Friday’s storms unleashed torrential downpours, pulling down power lines and scrambling emergency services. The swell of water forced some of Richmond County’s infrastructure to its breaking point. The Reynolds Street storm-water drains filled to capacity and blew a manhole cover off.
“It was a fountain, I drove down Reynolds Street and I immediately knew what was going on,” says John Minor, who works at Napa Auto Parts nearby. He went on to say this is a common occurrence. “When it rains heavily, we have a lot of flooding and the manhole cover just pops up in the air.”
Another problem that gets exposed by increased rainfall is the dam near Patterson Bridge Road in Hephzibah. Augusta-Richmond County District 8 Commissioner, Wayne Guilfoyle says, “This is a two year problem, we’ve been having to deal with this ever since the rain storm two years ago washed out the bridge, and we’ve been waiting on the corps of engineers to give us a permit so we could get it fixed.”
Guilfoyle says every time the overflow happens it traps Hephzibah citizens. “We’ve got five to seven hundred residents that lives beyond this bridge and you can see right now that it’s a safety hazard.”
John Stewart is one of those residents. “It’s ridiculous it’s been years it’s been like this and they patch it. It’s been over a month now they’ve had steel plates on it from the cave in from regular water. And now it’s jeopardizing people’s lives and they won’t send nobody out here, not even an officer,” says Stewart. Cars were forced to drive over the newly formed waterway. Stewart is frustrated with the lack of repairs on the dam. “You can’t take junk and patch it every time and expect it to be safe. This should have been fixed years ago. This should have been fixed six months ago when it first got the washouts in it and they started putting steel plates on it.”