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Council OK's work on Sanders Road culvert that was installed in 2016
Workers use heavy equipment to remove dirt and rocks to access an undersized culvert underneath Sanders Road, which led to that section of the road collapsing shortly after the May 2013 Lake Alice Dam breach.. - photo by For the FCN

The Cumming City Council unanimously approved a bid for emergency work on a culvert on Sanders Road. 

The bid of $291,485 went to the Dickerson Group for work on wing walls of the culvert running under Sanders Road.

Jon Heard, director of Cumming Utilities, said the culvert itself was in good shape but he had noticed issues with the wing walls during a recent period of heavy rain.

“This is an emergency repair,” he said. “The culvert under the road is in pretty good shape, it’s fairly new, but those wing walls are getting water under them and beginning to lean.”

Heard said three bids were submitted and recommended approval of the Dickerson Group bid since it was the lowest and the city had worked with the company in the past. He said the highest bid was more than double the approved bid, at more than $607,000.

The culvert was installed in 2016 following years of issues between the city of Cumming, Forsyth County and the Mashburn Family Trust, which owned the former nearby Lake Alice.

The road was opened three years and one week after the collapse of a nearby dam during a period of heavy rain ultimately led to its closure.

The road caved in as a result of excess water and sediment moving underneath it through an undersized culvert after the earthen dam holding back the former Lake Alice breached on May 19, 2013.

The area around the Lake Alice Dam breach was returned to its natural state, which was prior to the construction of the dam some 80 years ago.

“It’s where the dam broke and then washed that old culvert out,” Heard said at Tuesday’s meeting. 

“The culvert is in good shape under the road, but those wing walls that go out into the lake, those are the problem.”