View Mobile Site

  • Bookmark and Share




Sanders Road talks at a standstill

It’s unlikely to reopen anytime soon

POSTED: August 4, 2014 12:04 a.m.
Jim Dean/

Sanders Road has continued to deteriorate as talks to repair the road remain stalled. While one lane of pavement remains, at least six feet of the soil underneath the pavement has washed away

View Larger

CUMMING — Deemed unsafe following a dam breach and flooding, a popular residential cut-through east of Cumming remains closed to through traffic nearly 14 months later.

And based on a recent check with local officials, the governmental stalemate over repairs to Sanders Road is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.

The stretch of Sanders between Buford Dam and Mary Alice Park roads was heavily damaged by the May 19, 2013, breach of nearby Lake Alice’s earthen dam during heavy rain.

The city of Cumming performed temporary repairs later that week to allow the road, which is primarily Forsyth County-owned, to reopen to traffic.

The county and city split the costs of the emergency fix at about $15,700 each.

The following month, continued rain compromised the temporary repair and caused the road, which also skirts Lake Lanier, to close again.

Repairs have been estimated at $173,000, but the city and county have not been able to agree on how best to share the responsibility.

After some back-and-forth talks, officials with each agreed to pay half. However, problems arose when they also wanted to be absolved of liability by the other party in the dam collapse.

The two sides agreed to mediation on the matter in March. As of Friday, no resolution had been reached. 

In recent weeks, representatives of both the city and county have said that the matter is at a standstill.

“Right now, it’s pretty well in the hands of engineers and legal [council],” said Gerald Blackburn, Cumming’s city administrator. “But as soon as we get a little farther along, so we’ve got some firm information, we’ll be glad to pass that along.”

The city and Mashburn Family Trust, which owned the Mary Alice dam, are under a joint consent order issued by the Georgia Environmental Protection Department to remediate Lake Alice and remove sediment from nearby Little Ridge Creek and Lake Lanier.

The remediation plan includes the construction of a weir, a barrier that forms an obstruction smaller than most dams, pooling water behind it while also allowing it to flow steadily over the top.

Once the sediment is stopped, the city will dredge and clean the sediment that’s collected in the cove over the past year.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard said he hopes the remediation efforts will eventually lead to more discussion about the road.

“There has been a pause in dialogue between the city and county regarding Sanders Road, though neither the city nor the county has declared impasse with respect to possible compromise,” he said.

“Presently, the county is monitoring the work being performed related to the Lake Alice dam breach and feels confident that future discussions with the city will occur regarding Sanders.”



  • Bookmark and Share

mosesdds: August 6, 2014 7:47 p.m.

It appears that my comment on this story from earlier today was censored and removed. WHY?

I am reposting it here:

The photo associated with this article in the Forsyth County News is sooooo misleading. In the real world one half of the road has caved in (disappeared) and the other half is severely undermined and washed out. Check out this web site:

The section of Sanders Road affected by the Alice Lake Dam breach was annexed by the City of Cumming several years ago before the breach. In most places in the United States, this would mean that responsibility for care and maintenance of this portion of the road would fall on the city. But, not in Forsyth County where three commissioners may well vote for the county to fund repairs. (They have already voted to fund temporary repairs which quickly failed.)

By accepting and transferring this ill-advised solution, our commissioners may be legally transferring responsibility for the siltation of Lake Lanier caused by the Alice Lake Dam breach to the county. The clean-up of the lake could run into many millions of dollars for the tax payers of Forsyth County instead of the City of Cumming. Will three commissioners vote to transfer the cost of this remediation from the City of Cumming to Forsyth County residents? This may sound ludicrous. But, this is the way business is done between the city and the county here in Forsyth County when folks aren't paying attention. Stay tuned.

And Now for the rest of the story:

mosesdds: August 6, 2014 11:50 p.m.

Thank you Forsyth County News for replacing your stock photo of Sanders Road with one that accurately portrays the current condition of the road. You are to be commended for correcting the oversight.

Login to post a comment encourages readers to interact with one another. We will not edit your comments, but we reserve the right to delete any inappropriate responses.

To report offensive or inappropriate comments, contact our editor.

These comments are from readers of and do not necessarily represent the views of The Newspaper or Morris Multimedia.
You must be logged in to post comments. Login ›


Contents of this site are © Copyright 2014 Forsyth News, Cumming, GA. All rights reserved. Privacy policy and Terms of service

Powered by
Morris Technology
Please wait ...