Ledger Inquirer: Wall of dirt rains down on neighbors

February 24, 2013 

Cornelia Johnson and her neighbors on Valley Crest Drive are living in a slow-motion landslide. Literally.

A large hill behind their homes is gradually coming apart, sending tons of earth down into their backyards, tearing down at least one privacy fence and ruining any chance of having a landscaped space.

The wall of earth is several feet high in places and has actually piled up against one neighbor's house, causing water to leak into the house. The wall has also plowed into one corner of Johnson's house. Like her neighbors, she has dug it away from the house, but it will only roll back.

Johnson told me the subdivision was developed by the Woodruff Contracting Co., and she gave me a name and number of a person there. He curtly referred me to Warr Grading Co. in Alabama before hanging up. That was rude.

I called Spudd Warr, owner of Warr Grading and left a message outlining what I was planning to write about and asking that he call me back. I've had no word back from him.

The erosion problem started in 2009, Johnson said, and knocked down a privacy fence she'd had put up.

Warr sent a crew out to address the problem in 2010 and gave Johnson a check for the fence, she said. According to Johnson, Warr put in some drains to address the erosion, but they apparently only made things worse.

Up at the top of the hill sits a line of high-voltage Georgia Power lines, running along an easement. As the hill continues to erode and slide down into the row of backyards, it appears to be threatening the stability of the huge poles. Johnson said she and her neighbors talked to Georgia Power and they're considering moving the power lines to a more stable location.

She called Columbus Councilor Bruce Huff, who came out and took some pictures and said he was bringing it to the attention of Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, who has promised to look into the situation.

"We can't get any help from anybody," Johnson said, pointing to the corner of her house, where she's had to dig the wet earth away from the siding. "My son sleeps in the room there on the corner, and he's got asthma and allergies. If mold gets into the house there, I'm going to have to move to a motel."

I've seen a lot of things in the last couple of years of doing this column, but nothing like this. Stay tuned and we'll see what we can shake loose, besides dirt.

Update

Astute Readers will remember a few weeks back when we reported on three separate instances of chunks of utility poles hanging next to new poles on Hamilton Road, Warm Springs Road and Weems Road. AT&T, which owns the poles, said it was cable companies that hadn't moved their lines over to the new pole. Well, the Hamilton and Warm Springs Road poles are cleaned up. The one on Weems is still there but appears to be bolted to the new pole.

Seen something that just ain't right? Contact me at 706-571-8570 or mowen@ledger-enquirer.com.

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