Local officials estimating Ivan damage

By Abby Morris-Frye
star staff
amorris@starhq.com

  Now that flood waters have subsided and rivers are returning to normal, the hard job of estimating the damage caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ivan have begun.
  In the wee hours of the morning on Friday, rains rolled into the county, and within a short amount of time, the flood waters were devastating.
  Roan Mountain, Elk Mills and Poga were the hardest hit portions of the county that sustained damage including downed trees, washed out roads and bridges, and, for some residents, a power outage. In Roan Mountain, the Doe River raged over roadways and bridges, prompting some residents to evacuate their homes.
  Elk Mills and Poga also experienced a lot of damage as the normally tranquil Elk River erupted from its banks destroying roadways and the Elk Mills Community Park. The park was lost in the rapids of the river on Friday as swift water engulfed playground equipment and almost completely covered a picnic shelter.
  On Monday, Elizabethton/Carter County Emergency Management Agency Director Ernest Jackson said a damage assessment team has yet to complete an initial report on damage sustained by the county.
  "I talked to the Highway Department this morning about the damages sustained to roadways and bridges," Jackson said. According to Jackson, the Highway Department gave him a preliminary estimate that has gauged damages caused by the flood waters to county roads and bridges at approximately $150,000.
  Jackson said the estimate includes the amount of money it will take to replace approximately a quarter-mile section of road on Atley Brown Road in the Poga Community washed away by the Elk River.
  In addition to damages to county roads and bridges, many private roads, bridges and driveways also sustained heavy damage, Jackson said.
  Jackson is asking Carter County residents to help the EMA get an estimate. "We're asking people if they have any damage they want to report to call our office," he said, adding that the information will help establish what areas of the county sustained damage as well as a monetary estimate.
  Preliminary estimates on the damage do not indicate that Carter County qualifies for disaster relief funds. "It doesn't look like we will (get disaster relief funds) right now," he said. "It doesn't look good right now, but that could change."