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Roads still closed
Repairs to Shiloh, others may take awhile
shiloh road repair 2 jd
A sinkhole has closed Shiloh Road while crews work Wednesday to repair damage caused by flooding. - photo by Jim Dean (previous profile)
Four of five local roads closed as a result of heavy rains earlier this week may not reopen until Friday, emergency officials say.

Shiloh Road, which Forsyth County Fire Capt. Kevin Wallace called the most damaged, is expected to take the longest to repair.

“They’ve got a sinkhole in the center of the road,” Wallace said.

The fifth closure, the crossing of Nicholson and Old Federal roads, was expected to open by today, he said.

The other roads still closed include: McGinnis Ferry Road between McFarland and Union Hill; Grand Avenue in the Grand Cascade subdivision; and Watson Road, near the creek at Sawnee Mountain Park.

Blake House, spokesman for Sawnee EMC, said nearly 2,000 of the utility’s customers in Cherokee, Forsyth and northern Fulton counties lost power during the “torrential rain.” By Tuesday afternoon, service had been restored to all those affected.

“We had a pretty good many outages,” House said. “We really didn’t have anything over the weekend, but starting at midnight Monday and then throughout the night, that’s when it really got bad,” he said.

“When the ground is saturated like that, trees are going to fall. So we had trees falling and hitting the power lines.”

According to the National Weather Service, nearly 10 inches of rain fell between Sept. 14 and Tuesday morning in Forsyth County.

Wallace said most of the flooding in the area had receded by Wednesday.

“We allocated our resources out and with the help of the sheriff’s office and the county just coming together as a whole, we were able to keep up with the demand,” he said. “We were fortunate.”

After correcting some minor leaks in various facilities, the Forsyth County school system reopened Wednesday.

Tuesday was the first time the district had closed due to rain since Hurricane Opal in 1995. The day will be made up on Feb. 16 or 17, or on April 1 or 2.

Bruce Wagar, the district’s safety and discipline director, said classes were called off Tuesday to assess damage and make repairs.

“I think we were very, very lucky,” he said. “I think we’ve pretty much assessed the situation right now and we’re comfortable that we didn’t have any serious, long-term damage in any of our schools.”

Driving students to and from school has been a difficult but manageable task, said Wagar, citing the road closings.

“It was like watching a conductor of an orchestra with Mr. [Garry] Puetz directing buses through the county, advising them of closed roads or roads that were closed and were now open,” he said. “But all of them were able to drive their routes.”

All after-school activities were expected to resume Wednesday.

Wallace, who grew up in Forsyth, said he’s seen the Etowah River and the Nicholson-Old Federal intersection flood in the past. But the heavy rains brought some surprises.

“I’ve never seen Castleberry flood like that,” he said. “There were places that flooded I’ve never seen flood.

“But we were responding quickly and we had a good team concept with all the county departments and that actually worked very well.”