By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Kennedy Pond dam breaks, tractor sinks
Bulloch roads under heavy repair
080118_KENNEDY_POND.jpg
Water from a broken dam on Kennedy Pond floods Kennedy Pond Road Wednesday. - photo by By SCOTT BRYANT/staff

Weeks of heavy rainfall are taking a toll on Bulloch County’s dirt roads. Tuesday night, a pond dam burst in the southern part of the county, washing out roadways and trapping a man on a tractor.

The Kennedy Pond dam fell prey to the daily deluges of rain over the past several days, and Foy Smith, who owns property and lives on the large pond, was working to repair the damage and protect others when his tractor sank in the mire, almost up to the cab.

Smith was working to “prevent more erosion to the dirt road and prevent more damage to neighbors’ property,” his son, Clay Smith, told the Statesboro Herald on Wednesday. “The dirt gave way underneath him. I was able, along with a friend and two (Bulloch County) sheriff's deputies, to get him safely off the tractor.”

Then, Clay Smith “was able to pull the tractor out by using our big Case tractor,” he said. Foy Smith was unharmed in the accident.

Bulloch County Roads Superintendent Dink Butler said several roads, mainly in the southeastern portion of the county, are severely damaged and even impassable. Some are temporarily closed as county crews work overtime to repair them, but as more rains come, more damage will occur, he said.

“Rain and dirt make mud,” he said. “We are fighting it as best as we can.”

Roads that are impassable take priority, and roads that are where travelers can easily take another route take a back seat to those roads where there is only one way in and out, he said. The excessive rainfall has nowhere to go, especially in areas where there are massive agricultural fields.

As the daily thunderstorms continue over the next few days, people are advised to take precautions, said Bulloch County Public Safety Director Ted Wynn.

“When the ditches, creeks and ponds are so full,” the rain must go somewhere, he said. Often that means flooded roadways.  

“The phrase goes, ‘Turn around and don’t drown.’ We urge people not to do anything unsafe,” he said.

If a road is covered in water, do not try to cross it.

“You may think it is not deep, but you never know,” he said.

While county road crews are so burdened they “always have overtime” in trying to keep roads in order, they usually have Fridays off. However, they “will likely work this Friday,” Butler said.

As the rains continue falling over the next few days, he asks that county residents living and traveling on dirt roads “please be patient.”

“It is a work in progress,” he said.

Bulloch County has almost 800 miles of dirt roads, he said, reminding residents that it may take time to get to all of the roads in need, especially as the heavy rainfall continues.

 

Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter