Terry Beckwith has to leave her Midland home about 10 minutes earlier than she used to, thanks to a closed section of County Line Road.
And that’s not likely to change anytime soon.
Like many Midland residents, Beckwith relies on County Line Road for routine daily errands. But in early March, a section of a culvert running beneath the road just west of Central Church Road failed, causing the city to close the road for safety reasons.
Beckwith, who works at Fort Benning, must either cut down to Highway 80 via Fulton Road or go north on Central Church Road to Ellerslie, then over to Manchester Expressway. Her daughter, a student at Columbus State University, faces the same challenge every day.
“It’s an inconvenience because it has added some extra time,” Beckwith said. “We sure will be happy when it’s back open.”
But that won’t be for another two months, said Donna Newman, the city’s director of engineering. After more than a month of engineers studying of the problem, the city is almost ready to start tearing up the road. So the repairs will now likely take another eight weeks.
The extended repair time can be attributed to several factors, Newman said. In addition to the extensive engineering necessary to determine the best approach to the repair, the city had to file the proper permits to do the work with the state of Georgia and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers because it is in a live stream. Those applications are in process, she said.
Also, the city will not know the full extent of the problem until contractors tear up the road to get to it. The culvert system, which includes two pipes, may be able to be repaired, or it may need replacing altogether. The problem may extend farther than is evident, Newman said.
“There are many challenges with this project with it being on a live stream and a major water line that services a large portion of that end of the county,” Newman said in a report on the project.
When the washout first occurred, city leaders expected it to be a quick fix.
“If it’s something we can do to get it open, that may be in a time frame of about 30 days,” city Traffic Engineer Ron Hamlett told the Ledger-Enquirer at the time. “If it turns out, we are going to have to replace the culvert and rebuild part of the road, then we are talking about three to six months.”
Newman said it is too early in the project to project a final price tag. The city has only now determined the proper approach and still has to contract the work out, she said. And again, she said, the city will not know how much work will be necessary until the problem is uncovered.
For residents driving east on County Line, the 10-mile detour diverts traffic south onto Midland Road, down to Highway 80, east to Fulton Road, then north back to County Line.