Local News

Moore County residents want public money for new bridge

Posted September 18, 2008 5:18 p.m. EDT
Updated September 18, 2008 5:48 p.m. EDT

— Residents in the Riverbend community near Vass have only one way out of their subdivision – a portable bridge.

The community’s 80 residents are asking for public money to fund a new bridge, which is estimated to cost $25,000, on a private road.

“Everybody here pays county taxes. We take county water. We vote,” resident Pat Brock said.

As Tropical Storm Hanna moved through the state on Sept. 6, waters tore away a 10-foot-wide section of Autumn Drive, which is the only entrance and exit for the community.

Residents said a nearby lake overflowed, causing a creek that runs underneath Autumn Drive to grow too large and wash away the road above it.

Carrie Bays said she usually drives over the portable bridge with “both hands on the wheel.”

The narrow bridge is tricky for large vehicles to navigate.

“A (telephone company) truck missed it by just a narrow bit and went in and they had to come in and tow him out,” Bays said.

Locals were told the bridge is good enough for a fire truck to cross, just not if it’s in a hurry, Brock said.

“And the time it would take for an engineer to thread the needle could be one of my neighbor's lives gone,” Brock said.

The Moore County Board of Commissioners on Monday unanimously voted against a measure that could have brought thousands of dollars in state or federal funds to repair the road.

"We just got to be very careful when we take taxpayer money and put it into private drives, then everyone would want to know how to start a flood,” Commission Chairman Colin McKenzie said.

The board called on their attorney so they can “do everything they possibly can legally,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie is concerned about setting a precedent with providing funds for a private road. Moore County has about 10,000 private roads.

The board wants property owners to foot at least a portion of the bill.

Commissioners are meeting again Thursday night to discuss the matter and possibly vote for aid to the community.

The county would have to declare a disaster area in order to be eligible for federal or state funds.