September 23, 2009 / 4:22 PM / 9 years ago

RPT-U.S. flood damage in Georgia to top $250 mln

(Repeats to add U.S. to headline)

* Georgia floods damage property, infrastructure

* Most flood-damaged private buildings uninsured

By Matthew Bigg

ATLANTA, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Flooding in north Georgia that killed nine people caused $250 million worth of damage to property and tens of millions of dollars more damage to infrastructure, the state insurance commissioner said on Wednesday.

Parts of the I-20 interstate highway that runs through downtown Atlanta were closed through the Wednesday morning rush hour and at least 20 bridges, including some over the highway, appeared damaged, commissioner John Oxendine said.

“There was a lot of water pressure building up on those bridges and that’s a major concern,” said Oxendine who based his damage estimate on an aerial inspection.

But two days after flood waters reached their peak, only nine roads and six bridges in the southeastern state remained closed, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The flooding struck on Monday after days of rain that in some parts of Atlanta were the heaviest in the city in more than 100 years, according to state climatologist Pam Knox at the University of Georgia in Athens.

Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue asked President Barack Obama on Tuesday to declare a state of emergency for Georgia.

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency is considering a request from Georgia for aid.

Oxendine said only around 20 percent of private buildings damaged would likely be covered by flood insurance.

The Chattahoochee river broke its banks and several smaller creeks and tributaries that snake through the city became raging torrents with water levels rising up to 20 feet (7 meters). In most cases the water quickly receded. (Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Vicki Allen)

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