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Hope Mills files lawsuit over failed dam

Posted October 16, 2012

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— The town of Hope Mills on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against a half-dozen engineering, construction and insurance firms over stalled repairs on the town's signature dam, which failed 18 months after it was built.

The Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to file this lawsuit, which asks that the companies involved in designing and building the Hope Mills Lake Dam pay an estimated $10 million in repairs.

Its lakebed has been an unsightly blank space clogged with brush and weeds since June 2010, when the $14 million concrete dam failed and all the water drained from it.

The dam replaced an earthen dam that burst during heavy rains in 2003.

A timetable presented earlier this year called for repairs to be complete by October 2013, but now there is no date set.

In a written statement, Mayor Jackie Warner said Tuesday that several dates set up for negotiations on the project have been missed and that insurance companies have said that they won't be available until January, which Warner called "totally unacceptable."

"This board will not permit an insurance company or any other party to unilaterally delay the mediation process," Warner said. "This board has no choice other than to file a lawsuit to urge those necessary parties to participate in the mediation process without further delay."

Warner said that, so far, the mediation has been voluntary. The lawsuit makes it required.

The town's attorney said he believes the issues will be resolved without going to court. The town hopes the lawsuit will add a sense of urgency and speed up repairs, which have yet to begin.


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  • beachboater Oct 18, 2012

    Don't forget the dam beavers and mushrats. They could have been the dam problem, or the problem with the dam. The dam engineers along with the dam builders were following the State of North Carolina's dam regulations. I've seen the effect of those regulations after Hurricane Floyd. It took us a million dollars to fix a $50,000 repair because of the new dam regulations. Everyone should look at this as a dam shame.

  • piene2 Oct 16, 2012

    Fiasco on fiasco with no end in sight. The first fault lies with the town for not following the simple procedures to insure that the flood gate was operable. Had it been possible to open it, the dam would have survived. Next comes the dam commission and dam safety engineers. They should have had a look at the old earthen dam, realized that had it not been for the ineptness of the town maintenance people the dam would have never burst. Next come those who designed the new dam and the officials that approved the design. They should have realized that the ridiculously huge structure they had planned would not be stable considering the unstable lake bed. Lastly the design and construction was woefully deficient. Cheap plastic components were used where steel was needed. Had there been any common sense associated with he project, simply rebuilding the old earthen dam would have worked perfectly and lasted many, many years. Sometimes one size fits all specifications do not work.