Forsyth County steps up to pay half of Sanders Rd. damage

$16K in emergency road repair funds released

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CUMMING, Ga. — It’s unclear when Sanders Road will reopen to motorists after the city of Cumming temporarily repaired and reclosed the road to continue to assess and put in place a more permanent solution.

The road portion of Sanders Road between Mable Lake Road and Timberlake Trail was closed immediately after a May 19 storm that breached a dam at Lake Alice and sent water across the street into a Lake Lanier cove. The road was temporarily fixed but was again closed for a safety assessment.

Despite heavy rains and a tremendous amount of water in the lake when the dam burst, said Scott Morgan, director of Planning and Zoning for the City of Cumming, all adjacent water detention worked as designed and installed and there was no flooding or overtopping of any other roads or structures.

Forsyth County owns a majority of Sanders Road, but County Attorney Ken Jarrard said a 50 foot wide portion, where the lake waters caused damage, is city-owned and maintained because the city annexed both sides of the road.

On June 11, Forsyth County Board of Commissioners voted 4-0 to help pay $16,000 toward repair costs of Sanders Road resulting from the breach of Lake Alice dam. The city estimates the temporary emergency road work to cost $32,000.

Chairman Pete Amos recused himself from voting because his wife’s family — the Mashburns — are owners of the dam property.

City of Cumming officials say they do not own part of the dam.

The resolution approved June 11 authorizing the $16,000 also says the payment does not indicate a precedent or signal a future intention by the county to be responsible for future repairs or any percentage of responsibility.

“Our road was damaged, as defined by the [Environmental Protection Division] by somebody other than the county,” Commissioner Jim Boff said. “Why should the county contribute to having its property damaged?”

Jarrard said the event could be likened to a car wreck.

“Someone runs into your vehicle and damages your car, it’s very likely your insurance may pay to repair your own vehicle,” Jarrard said. “But they will then subrogate against the responsible party and then seek to recover damages from that party. I’m not saying that’s perfect, but that may be what we do here.”