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Flood-Damaged Bridges, Highways on the Road to Recovery

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HALIFAX COUNTY — When Hurricane Floyd tore through North Carolina, the floodwaters that followed destroyed more than 1,000 roads and bridges. Now theDepartment of Transportationsays there are just a dozen repair projects still under way. Highway 301, Halifax County:The deck is in place, and the Highway 301 bridge south of Halifax almost looks like a bridge again. DOT engineers say it was the most severely damaged bridge structure statewide, due to the flood surge from Hurricane Floyd.

The flooding blew out everything. Contract crews have toiled for months to begin to repair what Mother Nature destroyed in minutes.

The bridge is expected to reopen in August.

It was hard to count the number of washed-out roads in the days and weeks after Floyd. Now, eight months later, the DOT says only about a dozen roads are out of commission. They have come a long way, but there is still a long way to go. St. James Street, Tarboro:Case in point: downtown Tarboro. A culvert on St. James Street still looks like a bomb crater. It is only a few blocks from where President Clinton spoke, promising Uncle Sam's help in the big cleanup.

It will be a while before things get back to normal here. Then again, normal is a relative term.

Tarboro was under water in Floyd's wake. The Edgecombe County town became the symbol of the flood's destruction. With that in mind, the DOT says it is satisfied with the progress here. Highway 258, near Speed:DOT crews simply removed a big, flood-damaged section of Highway 258 near Speed. Crews are basically starting over, but expect to have the road ready for traffic up to Highway 122 this summer.

The number of repair projects changes, because some flood damage is still being discovered. DOT crews just shut down a bridge near Wake Forest this week. The flood-weakened Smith Creek Bridge on Ligon Mill Road will be closed for about a month.

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Mark Roberts, Reporter
Gil Hollingsworth, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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