Residents of the Trinity Farms neighborhood in Iron Station will be faced with finding a solution on their own for the washed-out bridge on Amity Lane, with little help available from either Lincoln County or the N.C. Department of Transportation since the road is private.
Interim County Manager Martha Lide updated the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners on the situation Monday night. As the Times-News previously reported, excessive rain from storms on June 28 resulted in blocked drainage pipes forcing an area creek to rise and wash away part of the gravel roadway.
However, as Lide told commissioners, the road’s collapse, which cut off the eastern portion of the neighborhood from access to a public road, was also the result of it not being properly maintained.
Two temporary bridges were installed (one for foot traffic and another for vehicles to cross), for which the county chipped in $5,000. The vehicular bridge has since been removed.
The N.C. Forestry Service helped with building the temporary bridges, and Lide noted that all residents in the area have been advised that the bridges were on loan from the agency and are not meant for extended use.
Additionally, a local State of Emergency previously declared for the area was removed Monday night by the board.
Roughly 30 properties, five of which are vacant, have been impacted by the event.
Lide outlined some of the options available to the residents, who have said they do not currently have the financial capability for permanent repairs. They previously held a few neighborhood meetings to discuss how to go about fixing the roadway but remain concerned over the cost.
Early estimates put the total price tag between $50,000 and $200,000, with the likely cost to repair all roads in the subdivision to meet NCDOT standards standing at more than $1 million. Lide said the ultimate cost will depend on the standards to which the road is repaired.
Lide believes the best available solution for the residents will be to apply for a loan through the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development Center. In order to do so, however, an active homeowners association will be required to pursue the funding.
Residents will also need to hire a civil engineer to walk them through the necessary repair work, she said.
Lide additionally cautioned that proper permitting will have to be attained from the state and through the Army Corps of Engineers.
At the county level, just a floodplain permit will be required. Otherwise, county officials indicated that there would be very little involvement from them.
Residents in attendance at Monday night’s meeting expressed their frustration and said they felt stranded.
However, with the roadway being a private one, public officials’ hands are tied.
“The county is not in the road business,” Chairman Alex Patton said, warning that, if not built correctly this time around, the road will just wash away again with the next storm.
In the meantime, Pumpkin Center Fire Department has agreed to administer assistance to any resident who needs medical care in the case of an emergency.
In other Board of Commission action at Monday’s meeting:Commissioners unanimously approved the capital purchase of EMS laptops.