Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Six weeks later, the clean-up continues

Hurricane Irene has disappeared from the headlines, but more than six weeks after the storm battered the eastern third of North Carolina, the damage can still be seen in some places.

Some amazing work by engineers and crews allowed for the reopening of washed-out N.C. 12 at the southern end of the Outer Banks earlier this week, but the N.C. Department of Transportation says its crews still have a lot of clean-up ahead.

I talked last week to someone who has been in mainland Hyde and Craven counties in the past 10 days, and he told me that downed trees, limbs and other debris are still a common sight.

The DOT's crews have been working long hours since late August to clean the mess, and they've picked up 55,000 tons of trees and limbs since then.

The clean-up is finished or nearly complete in eight counties, but it will be several more weeks before the trees and other debris are hauled away in 28 other counties heavily affected by the hurricane.

The N.C. 12 repairs involved around-the-clock work. Three breaches were repaired between Oregon Inlet and Rodanthe, but the most amazing job was the speedy installation of a modular bridge at the worst hurricane breech, about six miles south of Oregon Inlet. The bridge is narrow, and the speed limit is 25 mph. But engineers say it is sturdy enough to absorb a pounding from winter nor'easters until something permanent can be designed.

And while we're speaking of clean-up ... one of my sons was in Lee County about two weeks ago and said the damage is still visible from the killer tornadoes that roared through Sanford (and many other places in eastern North Carolina) on April 16.

It will be years before Nature is able to repair the damage caused by those mid-April storms.


Anonymous said...

Just for comparison, how long were signs of damage visible in Charlotte after Hugo?

Anonymous said...

If I remember correctly, all the Hugo debris was not completely picked up till March - about six months.

y_heart_y said...

its still visible in more than "some places" - i'm in greenville and there are numerous roofs covered in tarps, massive trees downed, and even more stumps ripped half out of the ground with their roots sticking out sideways. there's even one over by ECU that i don't think anyone even really knows what to do with because the root system was under the road and the sidewalk. its right next to the road, and i'm surprised no one's side-swiped it yet!