Two road closings in the area from Hurricane Matthew remain more than a month after the storm hit, and at least one of them is not expected to be reopened until next month.
N.C. Department of Transportation spokesman Steve Abbott said the need to replace pipes under the road at the closing of Edgemont Road in Wendell has slowed repair work because the department has to hire contractors to make the replacements. Contractors also have to be hired to repair the N.C. 97 bridge over the Little River.
Edgemont Road is closed in both directions between N.C. 97 and Coopers Hawk Trail and N.C. 97 is closed fin both directions at the bridge near Water Plant Road. The river breached the ages-old dam at Little River Park after the hurricane dumped rainfall on the area on Oct. 8 and the overflow undermined N.C. 97 where it connects to the bridge over the river.
The DOT estimates that N.C. 97 will reopen Dec. 16 and Edgemont Road by Nov. 30, Abbott said, although they are holding out hope it could be sooner in both cases. Abbott said bids opened last week to repair the concrete approach to the bridge.
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Until the bridge is repaired, thousands of daily commuters are being diverted about 2.7 miles around Water Plant, Green Pace and Currin Perry roads to get around the bridge.
Residents of Edgemont Landing off Edgemont Road just to the north of where the road is closed, must now drive down Robertson Pond Road to Rolesville Road to get to the U.S. 64 Bypass, or drive through residential roads to the east, not adding much distance to their route, but taking them past Wendell Middle School and through neighborhoods that usually don’t see as much traffic.
“To have to go driving through a family area is kind of a risk for them too,” Edgemont Landing resident Juan Moore said. “All that alternative traffic is going through their neighborhood.”
Edgemont Landing residents also report that motorists have been moving the barricades at Edgemont Road and driving down what is left of the road. They have also been affected by the N.C. 97 bridge closing about 2 miles to the east of the subdivision.
Rushing water from the storm going through a 36-inch pipe under Edgemont Road damaged the pipe and the road, Abbott said. “If you’re standing on the road, it looks fine,” Abbott said of Edgemont Road, “but there’s nothing under it.”
The new pipe under the road will be 78 inches in diameter to reduce the risk of the pipe damaging the road again, Abbott said.
Abbott said there were three or four other road closings remaining in Wake County, and “dozens and dozens” to the east, especially in Robeson and Bladen counties, so there is more work to be done than there are workers to do it. Weather could also impact repair times.
But crews have been working as quickly as the can, Abbott said, noting that at one time there were 600 road closings across the state and as of last week that was down to about 200.
Matt Goad: 919-829-4826