CAMDEN COUNTY, Ga. -- The St. Marys River swallowed streets and flooded about 40 homes in Camden county. But its impact is felt by the most people on Highway 40. Flooding forced emergency officials to close the road. At one point Sunday, the water reached six inches on the road.
"It is imperative," said Kingsland resident, Donny Sylvester about the highway.
Sylvester's family-owned business sits on Highway 40 a few miles east of the closure. He and other Action News viewers came to us, concerned why Highway 40 is the county's primary emergency evacuation route. They want to know what will happen if the county experiences flooding during a hurricane and the highway is shut down again.
"It is the primary evacuation route unfortunately until the state or whoever decides to build more roads out of Camden county. That's the primary route so when it floods we just have to take alternate routes," said Emergency Operations Director, Mark Crews.
The detour is adding an hour of travel time for drivers. Sylvester says it's scary to think about using an alternate route when outrunning a hurricane. Crews says his team will encourage early evacuations before the main road out of town is underwater.
"We'll take this event and try to educate people and say this is why when we call for an evacuation, you need to to have your plans ready and leave then," said Crews.
Action News learned, the closure is hurting small businesses in the area.
"I'm struggling to make my rent now," said Terri Thompson, owner of TJ's Hair Shop in downtown Kingsland.
Business for Thompson is being snipped short since Debby's downpour saturated Camden County.
"It's just a constant struggle. People get aggravated. It's a hassle," said Thompson.
Thompson says 30 percent of her business comes from Folkston and those costumers are not showing up to her shop because they have to endure a lengthy detour.
According to Crews, the St. Marys River is expected to crest Tuesday and the water should start receding within the next 24 to 48 hours.