Local News

Hope Mills files lawsuit over failed dam

Posted October 16, 2012 4:50 p.m. EDT
Updated October 16, 2012 6:53 p.m. EDT

— 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.