County road department crew to focus on clogged drainage pipes

At least one Grady County commissioner wants to see county government become more aggressive in cleaning out clogged pipes and replacing rusted drainage pipes to prevent further damage to county roads.
Commissioner Elwyn Childs, who said he is beginning his 33rd year on the board, expressed his opinion Tuesday morning that more should be done to address drainage issues that are “eating up roads” because of clogged pipes and drains.
“Some haven’t been unclogged in probably 20 years. If we just unclogged one or two a day it would help. I just think we should be spending more time doing that,” Childs said.
Commissioner Charles Norton questioned Road Superintendent Stanley Elkins about using fire knockers to unclog pipes.
According to the road superintendent, many of the clogged pipes will clean out themselves, but the issues come with those that have roots growing in them or where there are driveways that do not have drainage pipes.
The county routinely installs driveway pipes at no cost, but the property owner is required to purchase the pipe.
County Administrator Carlos Tobar said that a lack of driveway pipe on Ridge Road was an issue and he offered to do some public outreach in hopes of persuading residents to purchase the pipe unless the county wanted to offer to cover the cost of the pipe to help correct the drainage issues.
Road Superintendent Elkins advised against changing county policy and providing the pipe for free. “You’d be opening a can of worms if we did that,” Elkins said.
Commissioner Childs said that property owners who have had driveways on that road for 40 years should not be told by the county they have to purchase a pipe.
Tobar reminded commissioners that when the bridge over Sapp Creek on GA Hwy. 112 is closed for replacement, Ridge Road will be a major detour route for local traffic. “We are going to ask for state assistance, but this is an issue we need to address now,” the county administrator said.
Elkins reported to the board that on Monday he shuffled his crews around with the goal of cleaning out clogged pipes.
“We started on Harper Road and we will take it one after another with that being all that crew does. It will take a long time to get around the entire county, but that’s my intention,” Elkins said.
Commissioner Norton also suggested that Elkins could have his sign man check box culverts after big rains to alert him of potential issues. The road superintendent said that the sign man and his mowing crews all check pipes and culverts for issues while traveling around the county.
Heavy rains over the holidays have caused some extensive drainage issues for the county road department.

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