Residents take stock of road damage

Published 9:53 am Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Jimmy Andersons looks at what's left of Sunbeam Road after flooding from last week's rain washed it out. -- Gwen Albers | Tidewater News

NEWSOMS—Jimmy Anderson’s family walked through the woods Sunday looking for their mailbox.

They gave up the search after a copperhead crawled over the foot of Anderson’s son.

On Friday, flooding from last week’s 14 inches of rain swept away the Andersons’ mailbox along with a portion of their front yard and a 300-foot stretch of Sunbeam Road in front of their home.

In total, flooding damaged nearly a quarter-mile of section of Sunbeam Road near its intersection with Sandy Ridge and Mill Path roads, including the area around a bridge. It left the normally quiet road even quieter now that it’s closed to traffic.

The damage is believed to have been caused from a pond that overflowed and nearby beaver dams, said Newsoms District Southampton County Supervisor Walt Brown. Brown, who represents Sunbeam residents, noted the same area was washed out when Hurricane Floyd hit in 1999.

“There’s a lot of blockage on Bean Creek, mostly due to the beavers,” Brown said.

Repairs to the road are expected to take 10 days to complete, said Nora Chivers, public information officer for the Virginia Department of Transportation in Suffolk.

There is no structural damage to the bridge, Chivers said. The water washed away the rock, dirt and cement that holds the bridge in place.

Work on the bridge is expected to begin today, Oct. 6. Work on the road will follow, she said.

A four-mile detour has been set up.

Anderson witnessed the flooding that washed away the road.

“When I came home from work (on Thursday), water was going across the road and driveway,” he said. “The culvert pipe was overloaded. The water came up all night.”

By 5:30 a.m. Friday, “the driveway was gone and the mailbox was washed away,” Anderson said.

He and neighbor Chuck Richards praised Community Electric in Windsor for helping restore service after a utility pole was washed out.