Heavy rain from Elsa washes away road in Dorchester County

Neighbors say it’s not the first time, want to see permanent solution
Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 2:43 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 8, 2021 at 7:42 PM EDT
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DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) – People across the Lowcountry are cleaning up after Elsa dropped inches of rain and brought heavy winds and at least one tornado to the region overnight.

In Dorchester County, residents at the end of Pete Ewers Drive woke up to find much of their road disappeared as the storm moved through.

“I walked out this morning about 6 o’clock and seen the debris sitting in the middle of the driveway. I was going to move it and then I noticed that there was no road on the other side of the debris,” neighbor Tim Sweet said.

By 6:30 a.m., the hole in the road had gotten even bigger, prompting him to contact county officials to check out the damage.

When the rain stopped falling, the hole in the street measured roughly six feet deep and took up half the street’s width. County crews showed up Thursday morning to assess the damage and begin repairs.

Complicating matters is a question over who is responsible for the road. The state maintains part of Pete Ewers Drive, but that maintenance stops at the corner of McMakin Street prior to the creek responsible for the washout.

That’s where the road then extends to three private driveways, Dorchester County public information officer Tiffany Norton said.

“Dorchester County Public Works mobilized first thing this morning and repairs to the pipe crossing are underway,” she wrote in an email Thursday morning.

Sweet said the latest washout is at least the third time the road has crumbled away because of flooding since he has lived at his home. Last year, a flood washed away the road in the same spot.

Sweet wants to see a more permanent fix happen so he and his neighbors don’t keep getting cut off from the rest of their neighborhood on a yearly basis. He joked he may start firing up the grill for a cookout for the road crews who have come back time and time again.

“Myself, I think they need to dig up the whole pipe and put a regular ditch down, put a bridge across here,” he said.

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