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COTTONDALE, Ala. (WIAT) – Hundreds of residents of the Pattington Park community are trapped behind police tape. Early Thursday morning, when several residents were trying to leave for work they noticed water covering the road. Within a couple of minutes, the water began carrying away slabs of asphalt. Neighbors say at least two vehicles still attempted to drive over the unstable road, however it was buckling beneath the weight. The other neighbors kept a distance and called law enforcement to help alert motorists to the dangerous conditions.
Since about 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, no one has been able to drive out of the trailer park. Residents say they are frustrated and worried. Many have had to miss work, and they are concerned that emergency vehicles could not get onto the property if someone had a medical issue or fire. Residents say they have heard repairs to the road could take anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. Officials from the county also came out to see the condition of the private road. Commissioner Jerry Tingle says even walking across the road could put a person in danger.
The road is the responsibility of the owner of the property. Property managers say the owner is currently in California. The property managers are currently working to handle the repairs. Some neighbors are upset because they think that the flooding has been building for a long time. Several point to about 3 feet of standing water on the opposite side of the road, where garbage and mud is visible. They think that the debris has finally clogged a pipe that is meant to drain water safely below the road. County officials say the cause of the flooding could also be a result of an insufficient pipe. From what Tingle was able to observe, he says the pipe is old and likely too small.
The private drive is the only way in or out of the property. Tingle says there are some obstacles in getting the county’s assistance in putting a temporary road in place, however, it is something that they are looking into. For now, many residents have packed bags and are spending some time on the opposite end of the police tape and out of the neighborhood.