Winds, rain and intense lightning pounded Lincoln County Friday evening, producing flash floods on the eastern end in addition to high water levels in Iron Station, where a demolished private roadway, now temporarily fixed, separated some residents from the outside world.
Pumpkin Center Fire Department responded to Amity Lane in the Trinity Farms neighborhood around 10 p.m.
Interim County Manager Martha Lide said blocked drainage pipes forced an area creek to rise and wash away part of a gravel roadway.
However, heavy rain wasn’t the only cause of the collapsed road, she said.
Lide noted that a neighborhood covenant states residents are supposed to keep the road in good condition and that part of their deeds go to cover the cost of the road’s maintenance.
The street’s poor condition contributed to its demise, she said.
After surveying the damage Friday night and early Saturday morning, local firefighters along with county officials, Emergency Management crews and authorities with the North Carolina Department of Emergency Management brainstormed temporary repair options for the giant hole, which reached 16-feet deep and more than 25-feet wide.
Because the county does not have the authority to rebuild the roadway since all N.C. roads are either state owned or privately owned, county officials contacted the N.C. Forest Service to provide a quick, temporary solution to the problem.
Additional area fire agencies that assisted the incident included departments in Boger City, East Lincoln and Denver, Lide said.
Forest Service crews worked with inmates from the N.C. Department of Corrections Sunday to construct two separate bridges along the sides of the caved-in street. One bridge is vehicle accessible while the second foot bridge is ATV accessible, according to a letter that county officials issued to property owners Sunday evening, instructing them to drive no more than 2-3 mph over the vehicle bridge.
The letter also stated the main bridge would only be available through 9 a.m. Tuesday.
In two weeks, a second foot bridge will be constructed to replace the current one.
Because the bridges are temporary, residents like Debbie Whitley are not looking forward to again being stranded and “held hostage” in their homes, she said.
Residents do not have the financial capability to permanently fix the road at this time, Whitley noted — an expense county officials estimated to be more than $50,000.
“We just want to have access to the outside world,” she said. “We need help.”
Lide said Pumpkin Center fire crews have agreed to access any residents’ property in the event of a medical or other serious emergency.
According to Lincoln County Communications Center, additional flooding Friday occurred on the county’s eastern end along parts of N.C. 16 and N.C. 73 in Denver.
Firefighters with East Lincoln Fire Department said they responded to 13 calls including 11 water rescues.
Crews received the first water rescue call at 8:05 p.m. and didn’t return to the station until close to 1 a.m.
All the rescues involved individuals trapped inside vehicles.
One rescue each took place off Yacht Club Drive and North Little Egypt Road, while most of the incidents occurred at a Food Lion complex on N.C. 16, East Lincoln firefighters said.
No one was injured in the incidents.
Rainy conditions also resulted in a minimal number of county wrecks.
Eight crashes took place between 5 p.m. and 12 a.m. and were located in various places throughout the area, none of which included serious injuries, according to troopers with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol’s Newton district office.
Lincolnton Police responded to two wrecks, one of which included an overturned truck at the corner of South Aspen Street and Jonas Drive.