In order to provide some clarity into the events that led to the failure of the roadway on 30A at Redfish Lake, the county would like to provide the following information as a service to the public. In addition, we would like to make sure that the county continues to move forward in regard to placing a permanent bridge at that location.

As residents may be aware, Walton County and surrounding counties have received a large amount of rainfall this summer beginning with the largest of the rain events on July 4 weekend.  Due to the high levels of rain and the high saturation of the soil throughout the region, smaller rains continue to pose a problem to neighborhoods, roads and bridges.

The collapsing of 30A at Redfish Lake was not only a result of a failure of installed equipment, but was also due to the full rain total that the county has been receiving. 

Between the rain event beginning on July 4 weekend, and Saturday, Aug. 17, the county had been receiving information and monitoring the area surrounding Big Redfish Lake.  Beginning on Aug. 17, the Countys Public Works Department brought in water pumps to help relieve the flooding in that area and closed that section of 30A due to the fact that water was crossing the roadway and the pumps could not keep up with the rising waters. 

The water that was washing over the road caused erosion on the South side of 30A, causing the collapse of a section of that road. At that time, not only was there an issue with erosion from the water spilling over the roadway, but there was also a failure in the culvert under the road that alleviates the higher water on the north side of the lake to the south side. The water levels had risen so high, that the culvert was unable to move enough water from the north side of the lake to the south side.

Beginning the morning of Monday, Aug. 19, Public Works crews began to assess the damage. Due to the fact that the water levels were so high, they were not able at that time to inspect the culvert and surrounding area in order to completely assess the damage or the cause of the damage. During the following days, the county continued to receive rain, which made it impossible for a full damage assessment to be completed. 

Public Works administration staff came before the board at their meeting on Aug. 27 to provide an update and recommend possible solutions for the long term future of that section of 30A. During that meeting, the Board took a vote to replace the culvert system at Big Redfish Lake with a bridge. At that time, it was believed that the area may have to remain closed until a bridge could be constructed.

As water levels continued to recede and the assessment progressed, on Sept. 5 Public Works crews were able to fully enter the culvert in order to assess the failure. Throughout the remainder of that week, it became evident that while there were some failures within the culvert, it would not be necessary to place a temporary bridge at the site and that they would be able to install culvert slip liners at the location. The liners were ordered the end of that week and were expected the beginning of the following week.

Beginning the morning of Monday, Sept. 9, Public Works crews moved toward repairing the failure in the road by bringing in materials to repair the collapse.  Public Works received the ordered slip liners on Tuesday, Sept. 10, and began repairing the culvert while continuing to rebuild the collapsed section of road. The final installation of the culvert occurred Thursday morning, Sept. 12, and following installation, the road above was repaired and paved. This allowed the county to reopen that section of 30A at 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12.

While the repair that was made at that section of 30A is believed to be a fix that can withstand an extended period of time, Walton County will continue to move forward with plans to place a permanent bridge at that location in order to protect that area for the long term future. At this time, the county is moving forward with the planning, permitting and design of a permanent bridge. Once that process is complete, it will be determined on the best time to close that area temporarily in order to move forward with construction.

I appreciate the residents working with us and understanding the issues we faced in determining the best way to address the problem and open the road, said District 4 Commissioner Sara Commander. I also want to thank the men and women of the Districts 4 and 5 Road Crew and all of Public Works for working long, hard hours during this situation to get the road open and safe. 

Louis E. Svehla is Public Information Manager for the Walton Board of County Commissioners.