I kept meaning to email the county and ask them about this, because I’ve driven across the place on the corner there where a layer of the road seems to have vanished.  Now we know why.

From today’s Sentinel:

Bright Star sinkhole fixed
By Winston Jones
Staff Writer

Crews from the Douglasville/Douglas County Water and Sewer Authority (WSA) were recently called to repair a 1-foot wide sinkhole at the intersection of Bright Star and Cowan Mill roads.

WSA Executive Director Pete Frost said this type of incident is becoming more common and is indicative of the failing infrastructure throughout the county, caused by aging and undersized stormwater drain pipes.

“People hear about the sinkholes in Atlanta and think we don’t have that problem here,” Frost said Tuesday. “But we do. We’re no different from other communities.”

He said situations such as the one that occurred at the intersection are not just a nuisance, but present a safety hazard for everyone on the roads.

The Bright Star Road problem occurred when a pipe corroded just beneath the road surface, he said. The weight of traffic crushed the weakened pipe and the roadway collapsed, creating the hole. Repairs were completed Monday.

“We’re trying to systematically replace these culverts as time goes on,” Frost said. “Many are old corrugated metal pipes that have a design life of only seven years,” he said. “We’re replacing them with concrete pipes that last much longer.”

When WSA took over the city stormwater system in 2003 and the county in 2004, it even found pipes installed since 2000 that were improperly put in place, the wrong size or crushed during the installation process.

“We have a list of hundreds of culverts that need replacing,” Frost said. “It’s just a matter of coming up with the money.”

Funding for the stormwater system comes entirely from monthly stormwater fees added to residential and commercial water bills. The residence charge is $4 and commercial charges are based on the square footage of impervious surface (where water runs off).

County residents who are not WSA customers still have to pay the fees, but they are billed individually every six months.

Frost said a few non-WSA customers have complained about or refused to pay the stormwater fees. However, he said, the majority pay their bills.

“They realize that although they’re not WSA customers, they still drive on the roads,” he said.

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