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Lake disappears after flood
Private dam collapses; Sanders Road still closed
Rain WEB 1
A cabin sits on what was the shore of Lake Alice, which emptied when a private dam broke Sunday. - photo by Jim Dean

Officials are still deciding how to handle the damage along Sanders Road near Cumming, part of which remains shut down after weekend flooding.

Many roads across Forsyth County were closed after more than 6 inches of rain fell early Sunday. Sanders, however, was particularly hard hit when a privately owned dam collapsed.

Chief Kevin Wallace, spokesman for the county’s emergency management division, said the dam for Lake Alice was breached, with water flowing across Sanders towards nearby Lake Lanier.

“You can see the way the water flowed,” Wallace said. “We had to report the damage to the Georgia Safe Dams department of the Environmental Protection Division.”

The lake sits between Market Place Boulevard Extension, across from Cumming Town Center, and Sanders.

Catherine Amos, who owns much of the Lake Alice property with other members of the Mashburn family, said they are “still trying to recover from the shock of it.”  

“I just think it was an act of God,” she said. “The dam was built in the 1930s. I think it’s just so much rain all at once that it just couldn’t hold it, unfortunately.

“At this point, I don’t know if it would be feasible to build it back. I have no idea.”

John Heard, director of Cumming Utilities, said the flooding caused some minor damage to an electrical panel at the city’s wastewater pumping station on Sanders, but that it had been easily repaired.

A culvert that runs under Sanders, as well as the shoulders of the county-maintained road, bore the brunt of the damage, according to Heard.

Cumming owns a large portion of Lake Alice, but the city property comes to a point at the dam.

Wallace said the last time the state inspected local dams “that one was fine.”

“We just had so much flooding and so much water all at one time that it eroded pretty quickly,” he said.  

Jodi Gardner, a spokeswoman for the county government, was not sure how long Sanders would remain closed.

She urged motorists to avoid it and other closed roads for “both their safety and that of the workers who may be in the area.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, Sanders between Mary Alice Park and Timberlake Trail and Parks Road remained closed.