Highway Dept. makes progress on flood damage

By Lesley Hughes
star staff
lhughes@starhq.com

  Two months have passed since Hurricane Ivan left his mark on Carter County. Fortunately, federal assistance has helped the county's Highway Department repair and restore damaged roads in the county.
  Among the hardest hit areas were Elk Mills and Poga. Atley Brown Road in the Poga community sustained heavy damage due to the raging waters of the Elk River, which washed away large chunks of pavement and one section of the road completely.
  Highway Department crews have worked for two months to repair the road up to 50 percent, according to federal and state officials who visited the damaged areas last week.
  Jim Slemp, a Highway Department advisor, said, "They (officials) came in and checked all of our work that was completed and all of it that is to be completed. They came up with an estimate. The estimate ... is $231,087 in projected costs."
  "This covers work in the Poga/Elk Mills area, the Roan Mountain area, basically on roads from 19-E up to the state park," said Slemp.
  The repair of Shell Creek Road is complete, but work on Atley Brown is only 50 percent finished, according to Slemp. "... That was the worst damaged road in the county. We want to finish all the rip-rapping and all the work up there except for paving. We will probably save that for spring," he said.
  The Highway Department is preparing for winter and wants to delay paving until spring. The department also wants to give residents' cars a chance to pack down the material already placed on the road. Other road repair the department has initiated will hopefully be completed before winter arrives.
  The Highway Department expects to receive 75 percent of the $231,087 figure from the federal government. The state will provide 12-and-a-half percent, while the remaining 12-and-a-half percent will be covered by county funds.
  "Basically, there is not a whole lot we will be able to do (on the damaged roads) when the winter really gets bad. We will work up until that time, and, then, on days that we can, do a whole lot of stuff except pave. We feel like we can wrap up and by the first of the year we can have the biggest part of the small projects completed," Slemp said.