6,000 homes damaged from weekend storms

Mon, 05/12/2008 - 12:04pm
By: Cal Beverly

As DOT crews work to clear roads, insured losses estimated at $50 million and growing

Georgia Insurance and Fire Commissioner John W. Oxendine said Monday he estimated that violent weather across Georgia over the weekend caused more than $50 million in insured losses, with more than 6,000 homes damaged.

“Our preliminary estimate today is more than $50 million in damage across Georgia. That figure may rise as new claims are reported,” Oxendine said. “I’ve been commissioner for 14 years, and I don’t recall ever seeing damage spread across the whole state like this.”

The commissioner sent consumer service personnel to storm-damaged communities today to get a first-hand look and to offer help to affected citizens.

“I’ve directed my staff to make every effort to work with consumers and help them through this difficult time,” Oxendine said.

Oxendine reminds Georgians that they can call his Consumer Services Division at 404-656-2070 or, outside the metro area, 1-800-656-2298, if they have questions about a claim, or if they are experiencing difficulty reaching their insurance company. Phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Meanwhile, soon after damaging storms ripped through the state downing trees and power lines early Sunday, approximately 175 Georgia Department of Transportation employees began the task of clearing debris from state routes and interstates across most of central Georgia.

The hardest hit areas appear to be west of metro Atlanta and in Macon and the surrounding counties. The cleanup is expected to take up to two weeks.

The Department is working closely with Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) in the affected areas to remove numerous trees that have fallen across the roadways. According to GEMA, a state of emergency has been issued for Bibb, Carroll, Douglas, Jefferson, Johnson, and Laurens counties.

Currently U.S. Highway 80 in Bibb County and state routes 87 and 18 in Twiggs County are closed with power lines and trees down and across the routes. Early Sunday, I-16 and I-75 were temporarily closed due to debris, but both were reopened later in the day.

In Carroll and Douglas counties, west of Atlanta, crews were out again Monday removing trees from several routes. On Sunday, Ga. Highway 154 in Douglas County was closed due to approximately 40 trees being down, but crews worked throughout the day to clean up and get it open to traffic.

Georgia DOT officials planned to meet with Bibb County and the city of Macon Monday to decide how to best organize the cleanup efforts.

Statewide, DOT will have crews working on storm damage cleanup for the next two weeks in the following counties: Bibb, Bulloch, Burke, Carroll, Douglas, Johnson, Jefferson, Laurens, McIntosh, Rockdale, Twiggs, Washington, and Wilkinson.

DOT urges motorists to use extreme caution when traveling through the affected areas. Trees, power lines, and other debris could be in the roadways, creating hazardous conditions. Please report any damage to the roadways or power lines to local authorities.

Georgia DOT urges travelers to call 511 for updated information about this or any other construction project on interstates and state routes. Georgia 511 is a free phone service that provides real-time traffic and travel information statewide, such as traffic conditions, incidents, lane closures, and delays due to bad weather.

Callers can also reach live operators to request assistance or report incidents 24 hours a day, seven days a week. More information is available at www.511ga.org.

For general information on the Georgia DOT, visit the www.dot.state.ga.us.

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