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Fixing Floyd-Damaged Roads Means Maintenance Must Wait

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RALEIGH — Hurricane Floyd washed out or seriously damaged hundreds of roads. Fixing them will cost North Carolina millions, but officials say the repairs will not jeopardize future transportation projects.

The Department of Transportation says Hurricane Floyd did $218 million worth of damage to North Carolina's roads.

The government's Emergency Relief Program will pick up the tab for $189 million, almost 87 percent of the state's bill for road repair and cleanup.

"In terms of repairing our roadways and using the emergency relief program, it is very helpful," says highway administrator Len Sanderson. "The problem is, sometimes it can take months, or even years, in order to get the money."

North Carolina will still have a big bill to pay for Floyd-related road repairs. The current estimate is $28.5 million.

Sanderson says that bill will not impact new road construction. The money will come out of the state's road maintenance fund.

He says what the public will miss is improved visibility. "It will be more difficult for us to repair all of the potholes, to repair the signs, to do the necessary pavement markings that are needed as people travel around our state," Sanderson says.

Thanks to the maintenance fund, the DOT has enough money to pay for its share of Floyd road damage. But, any more natural disasters before the fiscal years ends next June could cause a funding disaster.

For the latest information on which roads are still closed, check out theDOT Web site.

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Mark Roberts, Reporter
Terry Cantrell, Photographer
Julie Moos, Web Editor

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