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Tornado clean-up continues on Azalea Drive in Warrenton

WARRENTON, Ga. - A Warrenton resident is up in arms about slow storm damage repair following the March tornado.

Ponder Johnson addressed the Warrenton City Council in August and asked when Azalea Drive's damage would be fixed. Council members had been told by the Army Corps of Engineers that it would begin work in the next two weeks. Ms. Johnson, the only resident living on that street, told members of the council on Sept. 4, that two pieces of large equipment have been brought in and out of the roadway, but nothing is repaired. She addressed the council for about 15 minutes, telling them she did not understand why it was taking so long for the flood damaged roadway to be repaired.

Mayor Tony Mimbs has been in contact with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, who has approved the work and is in charge of the project that is to be done by Hawkins Construction. Mayor Mimbs said that the city is having GEMA pay for the work because of the amount of money it costs. He said that with GEMA, cities can control the construction and repair of damage in amounts of $30,000 or lower. Anything over that amount and GEMA is in charge, leaving the city and it's residents on the agency's timeline, Mayor Mimbs said.

At the end of the meeting, Mayor Mimbs apologized to council members saying that he should have kept the residents of that area better informed. Mayor Mimbs said he would send each resident on Azalea Drive a personal letter apologizing for not keeping them up-to-date on the project.

Warrenton Street and Sanitation Supervisor Milledge Samuels was not at the September meeting, due to illness, but said in an interview Monday that crews from Hawkins Construction have been working on the Azalea Drive problem since Sept. 3. Mr. Samuels said that two 60-foot long, 60-inch wide pipes will replace the two 40-inch pipes that deteriorated and caused the flooding of a near-by creek, which caused the road collapse in March.

"Hawkins has been working since last Monday on this project," he said. "This week they are installing the two pipes and pouring the concrete wing-walls that will cover the pipe and extend to the bank of the creek. Weather permitting, this part should be finished by the end of the week."

The larger pipes and concrete wing-walls will create a better drainage system for the creek and should be able to handle flooding from rain in the future. Mr. Samuels said the next step will be to grade and pave Azalea Drive when the drainage work is complete.

Web posted on Thursday, September 13, 2007

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