Officials survey flood damage in central NC as those displaced return home


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s secretary Nick Tennyson, along with local DOT engineers and staff, took a tour of some of the flooded areas in Harnett County Friday.


The NCDOT said Harnett County roads were most impacted from Wednesday and Thursday’s storms. The hardest hit road was Thompson Road in Bunnlevel. The road, which covered a pipe, was completely washed out.

“You start to get softening of it and it erodes and then as it goes, it undermines the road and it’s just a matter of water washing over it and taking it away,” Tennyson explained.

Tennyson estimated that it will take about $150,000 to repair the road.

RELATED: Some central NC areas receive 9+ inches of rain; roads, neighborhoods flooded

“We’ll have to have some rock under the pipe to give it a firmer foundation coming up from, you know, instead of trying to put it into mud, we’ll make sure that we’ve got a good foundation for the pipe that we put in,” he said.

Tennyson and the DOT officials toured more than just one trouble spot.

“I’m not trying to do any sort of overview. The guys that are really going to get it done are already on scene and they’re working hard to make sure that we get it done,” Tennyson said of all the road issues in Harnett County.

Water completely covered and flowed over a section of Norrington Road. At least one lane of Elliot Bridge Road was covered in standing water, as well as a nearby home and church.

Once all roads are clear of water, the NCDOT will re-assess them to see if there is any shoulder or pavement damage due to erosion from the water.

At the height of the flooding, 50 roads in Harnett County had high water signs posted and 20 roads were closed.

As of Friday morning, fewer than 10 roads remained closed. Thompson Road will likely be closed for more than a month.

Tennyson estimated that it will be a couple of weeks before conditions dry out enough to start working and then construction will take four to six weeks.

Another area hit hard by yesterday’s flooding was Cumberland County. Downtown Fayetteville was under water Thursday morning and

Spring Lake was hit especially hard. That’s where the Mill Pond Dam breached and dozens of homes were evacuated.

The Lower Little River at Manchester in Spring Lake is still high, but the waters have receded. The river reached historic levels Thursday.

The National Weather Service in Raleigh expected the river to rise to nearly 39 feet Thursday morning. The major flood stage is 27 feet. It crested at 31.18 feet Thursday.

Now, the river is around 27 feet.

Much of the concern in the area was the Mill Pond Dam. Park officials estimated the breach is about 25 feet wide. The rest of the dam held up, otherwise it could have led to flooding in the Overhills Park community.

The Spring Lake mayor said about 50 homes were evacuated. Eighteen people from the Overhills Park area were displaced and stayed in shelters. The rest stayed with family or friends.

Lisa Aguirra was one of those who was displaced and stayed at a shelter. CBS North Carolina was there as she returned to her home and described how she felt.

“Relief. Definitely relief. Definitely thankful. I don’t think very much of us got very much sleep just watching the weather. Just checking the rain and just thank God it didn’t rain anymore,” she said.

There was good news for Aguirra and her neighbors as none of the homes on that block were damaged by the flood waters.

Aguirra said that having to leave so quickly was frightening and she’s just glad she had her family with her.

“Definitely seeing my daughter go through it, I was definitely glad I was here. I told her you know, ‘We’ve got each other and we’ll get through it together,’” she said.

Despite how much flooding occurred in the community, Spring Lake Mayor Chris Rey said there was no extensive damage to homes, however some pieces of land are still flooded and several roads are still closed.

Spring Lake officials, along with the rest of Cumberland County, are still assessing storm damage.

A concern Friday morning was Carvers Creek State Park. The park’s dam breached Thursday.

Rey told CBS North Carolina that the remaining trees there are the only things keeping the dam in place at this moment.

Despite that, the threat from flash flooding associated with Long Valley Farm Lake Dam in Carvers Creek State Park is no longer expected to pose a significant threat, the National Weather Service said.

The flash flood warning for a dam failure expired at 4:30 p.m. for south central Harnett and northwestern Cumberland counties.

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