WILMINGTON — Hurricane Florence might have been more than one year ago, but its impact on the region can still be seen. The City of Wilmington has spent around $34 million in repairs to infrastructure so far and still has plenty of projects in the works.
Recently, the city released a project tracker where residents can see the status of both major and minor construction projects.
“The City of Wilmington incurred millions of dollars worth of damage from the catastrophic Hurricane Florence, which made landfall in the City in September 2018. Since then, the City has been working diligently to repair that damage,” according to the City of Wilmington.
Projects from sidewalk repairs to drainage infrastructure repair have been ongoing since last year — but as with most government projects — it can be a slow process.
“After addressing immediate repairs following the storm, staff worked for several months to identify all the city streets, sidewalks, buildings and drainage infrastructure across the city that need to be repaired. The city also had to get federal officials to inspect and approve each of the repair sites to make sure the city could receive federal/state reimbursement before the projects could go forward, according to the city.
“Because the city has to pay for all of these repairs out-of-pocket with taxpayer dollars, the federal inspections and approval were critical to make sure the city gets reimbursed for as much as possible. So far, the city has spent or appropriated more than $34 million in response to the storm and hopes to get much of that reimbursed.”
Below is a list of major projects and their statuses, according to the City of Wilmington.
Garden Avenue – Starting Soon
Repairs to Garden Avenue are slated to begin Dec. 30. The scope of work on this project involves in-situ rehabilitation of a 54-inch corrugated metal pipe. The work consists of sealing pipe joints and penetrations, pipe back-grouting and probe grouting for soil stabilization using moisture-activated hydrophilic and/or hydrophobic polyurethane resins.
It will also include centrifugal spin casting and lining of the storm drain lines and structures and the removal and replacement of existing storm structures, and certain portions of the 54” pipe. The $456,962.16 contract is expected to take 90 days. Contractor Applied Polymerics of Mt. Airy uses existing manholes to access the pipes, and inject foam-like material that fills the pipes’ cracks from within and then hardens. Garden Avenue will be close to through traffic, but a detour will be open at Cherry Avenue.
70 Point Repair Project – Ongoing
Crews began work on Shirley Road Monday, Dec. 16 to repair cave-ins resulting from Hurricane Florence as part of a large stormwater infrastructure project. Shirley Road is the first of 70 sites to be repaired throughout the city. FEMA will reimburse the City for the $2.4 million project, which is expected to be completed within 6 months. Carolina Civil Works is performing the repairs.
River Road – Ongoing
A six-month closure of River Road began in September so crews can replace a large drainage culvert beneath River Road. The culvert, located just south of Raleigh Street, was originally damaged in 2017 and failed again during Hurricane Florence. Temporary repairs and paving have allowed the road to remain open in the meantime while planning for this replacement. The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority is contributing $885,000 of the total project cost of $1.37 million because it involves the relocation of a force main sewer line. Trader Construction of New Bern is performing the work.
Sidewalk Repairs – Ongoing
Crews are nearly finished with on repairs to approximately 50 sidewalks damaged by Hurricane Florence. In-house crews are doing some of the work while a contractor is working on the larger sidewalk repair projects. Repairs made by city crews so far include South 14th Street, McClelland Drive, Winston Boulevard, 43rd Street and Country Club Road, as well as sidewalks in the Glen Meade/South Oleander and Audubon/Devon Park neighborhoods.
Henry Street, Caswell Street Repairs – Finished
As part of a second phase of major Hurricane Florence repairs to city infrastructure now underway, crews finished repairs to drainage pipes beneath Henry Street and Caswell Street in September.The $529,000 project involves a repair method that prevents the need to dig up or close the street.
Contractor Applied Polymerics of Mt. Airy NC uses existing manholes to access the pipes, and inject foam-like material that fills the pipes’ cracks from within and then hardens. The crews also removed sand that has gotten into the pipes as a result of the cracks.
Montgomery Avenue, Shell Road Village Drive Repairs – Finished
Crews finished hurricane repairs to Montgomery Avenue and Shell Road Village Drive in December. The project is part of a $431,296 contract that involves fixing underground drainage pipes using a method that prevents the need to dig up the street. Contractor Vortex Services of Florida uses existing manholes to access the pipes and inject a liner that fills the pipes’ cracks and holes from within and then hardens into a new pipe.