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Columbia County to repair collapsed Martinez road

Friday, June 14, 2013 5:45 PM
Last updated 11:33 PM
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Columbia County officials are planning repairs to a Martinez road that collapsed last week, though its ownership and responsibility remain unclear.

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Repairs continue on Lakestone Court in Martinez, where a collapsed section of road happened during recent storms. The work addresses safety concerns as questions linger.  JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
Repairs continue on Lakestone Court in Martinez, where a collapsed section of road happened during recent storms. The work addresses safety concerns as questions linger.

A dam pipe running under Lakestone Court in Barrington subdivision gave way after heavy rains on June 3. The road collapse isolated residents of 12 homes, who were allowed to drive across the temporarily repaired road only for a couple of days before it was closed off again June 5.

“We’ve got residents that live on a county road that do not have access to police, fire or EMS,” County Administrator Scott Johnson said Friday. “Constitutionally, the No. 1 responsibility of county government is to provide public safety.

“We made the decision to go ahead and fix the road. ... We didn’t feel like it was in the best interest of the citizens to argue a legal point when public safety is at risk.”

Ownership of the road and responsibility for its repairs still needs to be determined.

A document filed in the clerk of court’s Office in 1991 transfers ownership of the road to the county, but not the dam from the pond running under the road from the now-defunct Waterford Development Co. and the Barrington Home Owners Association.

The same document relieves the county of responsibility for maintenance and repair of the road because of dam failure.

A plat filed in the clerk’s office in 1999, however, transfers ownership of Lakestone Court to the county.

“There are so many issues here,” Johnson said. “There are so many moving parts to this puzzle.”

Johnson said the road will be repaired and attorneys can work out ownership, responsibility and potential reimbursement later.

Calls to Doug Batchelor, the county attorney, and Vincent Davison, the president of the homeowners association, were not immediately returned Friday.

“At this point, we’re going to fix the road for public safety purposes, and we’re going to determine who is responsible for it at a later date,” Johnson said.

The road needs to be repaired quickly, he said.

“That thing is eroding daily,” Johnson said, adding that the 72-inch corrugated metal pipe has now completely caved in. “It’s progressively getting worse every day.”

County officials met with residents Tuesday to explain what to expect. Matt Schlachter, the Columbia County Con­struction and Maintenance Division director, said officials talk to residents daily and update them with e-mails.

The collapsed pipe will be replaced with a concrete box culvert or pipe. Both are sturdier than the metal pipe and meet county code.

Schlachter said work at the site will begin as soon as the materials and crew are available.

Initial preparations are already underway, including securing utilities, building an access road and draining the pond.

Johnson said he doesn’t have a cost-estimate or a confirmed timeline for the project.

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thauch12 06/14/13 - 08:37 pm
Glad to hear at least one of

Glad to hear at least one of our county governments is functional and responsible!
That being said, this is Barrington and those are million dollar homes. I don't think it would hurt the residents too much to take care of it themselves in a worst case scenario haha.

Dixieman 06/14/13 - 09:30 pm
Envy is ugly

They are entitled to the same government services no matter how much their homes cost.

Riverrunner30909 06/15/13 - 03:36 am
Road Repair

They pay taxes to the county which includes Road and Bridges, that road is within the county, they it should be repaired or the county refund all portions of the road and bridges tax collected to date.

soapy_725 06/15/13 - 08:08 am
Your Rain Tax and Rain Tax Deux at work.

This is what the tax money was for, correct. The benevolent CC government is coming to your aid. Not the that CC government did not already have a part in the "questionable design". All of CC is a drain field. From Harlem to the Savannah River. You must consider the laws of Fluid Mechanics when planning and zoning. Heck no. We will pass another water maintenance tax to cover our proverbial arse. Not to forget that we already pay taxes for planning and zoning, roads and bridges, development permits, CC codes enforcement, etc.

Why are awards, accolades, heroic praises due to those who are paid with tax money to perform a specific task? Public servants no less. Servants of the Public. Maybe they should just be on call for work since they are "totally" reactive and not proactive.

thauch12 06/15/13 - 07:47 pm
Stupidity is ugly

"in a worst case scenario..."
Learn to read.

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