Heavy rain washes out road, stranding families

Posted December 3, 2009 11:40 a.m. EST
Updated December 3, 2009 4:19 p.m. EST

— Heavy rain washed out the only road to a southern Vance County subdivision overnight Wednesday, and residents and a developer are disputing if the road was maintained properly.

A creek running underneath Geranium Lane, off Briggs Road, between Kittrell and Henderson, flooded when up to 2 inches of rain fell. Eight families who live in the Spring Forest subdivision were stranded.

Residents said they discovered the dirt road was out when they left for work around 6 a.m.

"I've never seen a road washed out so bad. It was impassable," resident Carroll Bou said. "There was mud and crushed gravel going all over the place, and the pipe was sticking up out of the ground."

"There was no way you get across without risking going in the creek," resident Donna Dement said.

It is the second time in two years that the road has been washed out, residents said. They blame the developer, Ventures Housing, which owns remaining properties in the subdivision, for not maintaining the road.

"The road needs to be leveled out and properly graveled so that it doesn't wash away every time it rains," Dement said.

Tommy Hester, a partner with Ventures Housing, said that some work has been done on the private road over the years. He said that the homeowners association hasn't paid an annual fee for road maintenance in four years.

Several residents said they are not aware that a homeowners association even exists.

The developer sent out a crew to make emergency repairs. The crew laid down new dirt and was replacing a pipe Thursday morning. The work could take another day to complete.

In the meantime, the only vehicular access to Spring Forest access is cut off.

"I'm losing a day's pay and possibly a day's pay tomorrow," Dement said. "And I have bills that don't stop because this road is out."

Hester said that the repairs won't stop the road from flooding again because of the subdivision's geography. The homes sit up on a hill, while the road crosses the creek in a valley.

Homeowners watching the repair work Thursday said they want a permanent fix to Geranium Lane.

"It will be fixed. This is why this community is down here," Dement said.