North Carolina Department of Transportation employees in Sampson County have diligently worked to reopen all roads closed as a result of damage during Hurricane Matthew in October.
Now, six months after the county was impacted by the storm, officials say the end is in sight, with all roads expected to be open by the end of the month. In the days following the hurricane, more than 200 roads across the county were closed or impassible due to washouts and roadway damage.
According to Ron Vancleef with Division 3 of the Transportation Department, there are two roads that remain closed or partially closed, with work on both of the roads expected to be complete by the end of next week.
“Bucktown Road’s pipe was completed today (Saturday) and paving should take place later this week,” Vancleef stated. “The pipe on Moseley will be completed by Wednesday or Thursday and paving will be done the first of next week.”
The third road, Vancleef said, is Haynes Stretch Road, and the department is waiting to hear back from Duke Energy on a utility conflict. The road is open following the placement of a binder last Tuesday and an overlay on Friday.
The flooding from Hurricane Matthew created issues trying to reach some sections of the counties, and until the water receded, DOT officials were unable to determine the extent of the roadway damages. Once determined, however, Brian Rick, communications officer with divisions two and three of the NC DOT, said the necessary repairs could then be scheduled and work towards completion could be done.
The state department was able to bring in 100 additional personnel and associated equipment from Divisions 9 and 14 in the central and western parts of the state, to assist with storm related repairs, according to Rick. These crews assisted for a two-week period following the storm. In addition, the National Guard provided crews to assist with the damage repairs for about one week.
“We do not have an exact number of roads affected, however, we estimated that most of the roads in the county were impacted in some manner by this event,” Rick said.
Just two months ago, 17 roads remained closed due to complete washouts or pipe repairs. Roads like U.S. 701, N.C. 24 and U.S. 421 were quickly addressed to allow for major routes to be reopened as quickly as possible. At that time, DOT officials slated the end of February for the re-opening of the remaining closed roads, but pipe work, paving and utility issues have delayed completion through the end of April.
May roads remained closed longer due to orders for pipe replacement being delayed. Once equipment came in, Rick said, the work was completed in a timely manner.
“The primary reasons for our delays have been material availability and utility conflict,” Rick explained. “We are continuing to pursue the locations and will work to have them completed and re-opened as soon as possible.”
According to Keith Jackson, county maintenance engineer with division three in Sampson County, Peavine Road is currently closed to complete shoulder and road bed construction, which should be complete by the end of the day Tuesday. Portions of Peavine were closed following last year’s storm.
“Our priority has been to repair the roads as quickly and safely as possible,” Rick added. “We have worked as quickly as possible to repair the roadways and restore normal traffic patterns. As materials arrive, we have worked to repair and reopen as many roads as possible.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.