Lack of funds, materials slows Hurricane Matthew repairs months after storm

Posted April 3

— Six months have passed since Hurricane Matthew battered eastern North Carolina with wind and rain. After the storm rolled through, about 600 roads were impacted, including everything from Interstate 40 to residential side streets.

The state has spent millions of dollars on repairs, but they haven’t finished the job, and a lack of materials and funds means dozens of roads still need attention.

The power of Matthew was seen and felt as the storm cut a path of destruction through the state. The ground in the Sandhills was already saturated with 10 inches of rain from a previous storm, which meant the water from Matthew had no place to go.

The washed out roads created some serious engineering challenges.

“The biggest challenge is just the number of sites, the volume of work on top of the work that the contractors are already doing,” said North Carolina Department of Transportation engineer Greg Burns.

More than 600 roads in the state were closed because of flooding, and many of them were washed out. Two Hundred of the roads were in Region 6, which includes Cumberland and Robeson counties.

“We’re now down to eight in this region and I think, statewide, we’re down to 19,” Burns said.

While the state is making great progress in making repairs on the roads that were washed out, Fayetteville city leaders said they’re being bogged down waiting for state and federal money.

“The biggest thing is at the front. After it happened, we had to make sure our contract procedures met all the FEMA requirements, all the federal requirements, to make sure that we would get reimbursed,” said engineering and structure director Rob Stone.

Fayetteville had seven roads washed out by the storm, causing about $15 million in damage. The city has repaired four of them, but two are still in need of repair, causing big headaches for residents who live nearby.

A detour remains on Mirror Lake Drive in the Vanstory Hills subdivision and a section of Shawcroft Road, the only way in and out of the King’s Grant neighborhood which contains about 650 homes, was washed away. The city created a winding detour to get residents in and out and a temporary solution is on the way.

“We’re actually proceeding with a temporary culvert, constructing a temporary culvert in there that should be done by April 15,” Stone said.

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  • Joey Cuddington Apr 3, 10:47 p.m.
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    ...and no warnings of the devastating inland flood to come. But we saw multiple reporters along the coast reporting on how calm the winds were and reporting only brief showers....