ELIZABETHTOWN, N.C. (WECT) - Nearly a year and a half after Hurricane Florence dumped catastrophic rainfall on Southeastern North Carolina, leaders in Bladen County are moving to prevent future damaging flooding in at least one part of the community.
When the White Oak Dike failed a few days after the storm, hundreds of residents of the Kelly community were forced to evacuate, some by air, and some have not yet returned to their homes nearly 17 months later.
On Monday, the Bladen County Commission approved a $270,000 contract with Catlin Engineers and Scientists to begin the process of repairing the dike — at least to a point the United States Army Corps of Engineers approves.
WECT Investigates found the dike had been mismanaged and neglected for three decades, leading to the piece of infrastructure being removed from the USACE’s rehabilitation program.
That means the dike is not eligible for federal repair funding from the Corps, and some estimates have the price tag of fixing it coming in around $30 million.
According to the proposed contract, Catlin would help the county determine the scope and cost of repairing the dike back to the standard the Corps would require for reinstatement into that program.
It would also attempt to come up with an emergency preparedness plan related to the dike, as well as the scope of maintenance to keep it in good shape going forward.