Heavy rain on Monday night flooded several area roads, damaging one of them and causing an accident when a motorist drove into the rushing water covering the damaged roadway. Several fallen trees and damaged property added to the rain-related havoc.
The worst of the problems occurred on Sparger Road, between N.C. 89 and Pipers Gap Road, where rising water destroyed a section of the road.
“There’s a 20-foot opening in the road,” said Ricky Ashburn, transportation supervisor for the Department of Transportation (DOT). “Rain,” he said. “So much rain.”
The damaged section of Sparger Road, 1.2 miles from N.C. 89 and about a mile and a half from North Surry, has a 117-inch double pipe running under it to handle water runoff, which means each of two pipes is 117 inches in diameter, according to Ashburn.
“The pipe couldn’t handle the water, and it began eating out the road,” he said of the torrents of water that first eroded the shoulder of the road and then carried off the 20-foot section of pavement itself. The pipe was not damaged — the road washed away from around it.
The damaged road was discovered by a motorist who drove his vehicle, a small sedan, into the running water, only to find there was no road beneath it. The water killed his engine and he was not able to drive out, according to John Shelton, Surry County emergency services director.
“We received the call as a ‘water rescue’ at 11:38 p.m. When we got there, the driver had freed himself. But the car wouldn’t crank. It wasn’t raining as heavy right them, so a rescue vehicle winched him out before the wrecker could pick it up.”
The driver was unhurt. Since he did not require treatment or transport, Shelton did not have his name.
Other roads in the vicinity, Pipers Gap and Sykes Dairy, were also flooded by the same creek, but were not damaged by the water.
A DOT crew was on site Tuesday morning dealing with the flood-damaged roadway.
“We started working at 9 a.m.,” said transportation supervisor Ashburn, “but this won’t be fixed until Thursday or Friday.”
In the meantime, Beamer Road is being used as a detour. Ashburn said the detour is marked on both the N.C. 89 and Pipers Gap sides. Residents within the detour area all have access to their property.
Ashburn said that a farmer whose property adjoins the washout told him this is the first time in 30 years water has come across the road.
Other area residents reported flooded basements and damaged farm equipment, according to Shelton, who also said several trees were down in the county, but none had caused significant property damage.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.