Repairs to Highway 17 Underway after Earthen Dam is Breached - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Repairs to Highway 17 Underway after Earthen Dam is Breached

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A portion of Highway 17 in Screven County will be closed for at least a week after an earthen dam breached late Saturday night, spilling thousands of gallons over the roadway. The water then spilled into the Ogeechee River, pushing the river level to some of its highest levels in years.

The dam was known as the Herbert Jacobs dam because it was on his land. The earthen dam had been built in 1977 according to specifications at the time and was permitted by Screven County. Jacobs told me Monday that his son had noticed a hole in the dam Saturday morning and they called authorities and spent the day trying to plug the hole but to no avail. "It started raining and that was it," he said. "I was afraid it was going to happen, but hoping it wouldn't."

Jacobs and Screven County EMA director Harvey Cryder both said the problem may have been exacerbated by a rusted pipe, but Cryder also said it had "rained and rained."

Jacobs told me he doesn't know how he will repair the huge dam but says it was used as an irrigation supply for is farm. "my family and I have to make a living, I'm 76 years old but I will have to start over," he said.

Cryder said he doubted if Jacobs would be held responsible for damage to the road. "It was really just an act of nature," he told us.

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