It could be sometime next year before Dry Creek is back in its proper place and all the debris left behind by a flood earlier this month is cleared away, but work on a 2.5-mile stretch should get under way soon.
The project to repair damage along that stretch is expected to cost around $3 million, according to Washington County Mayor Dan Eldridge.
“Basically from the Methodist Camp to the Nolichucky River will have to be remediated and it’s approximately two and a half miles. Obviously that’s a big project and it’s going to take a long time to complete,” Eldridge said Friday. Part of the project is considered “emergency repair work,” and will be completed first.
“There are certain areas along that two and a half mile stretch, that because the creek banks were washed away and because the creek is out of its normal channel, there will have to be emergency repairs done.”
That’s the area of the creek from around the 600 block to where Dry Creek Road meets Arnold Road that overflowed into fields and houses Aug. 5 during a heavy downpour that dumped around four inches of rain in a short time.
“Because some of those areas ... will subject property owners to further flooding in the event of another large rainstorm, we have to do emergency repairs,” he said, which are estimated at $880,000.
“Those will begin just as quickly as we can process the paperwork,” he said.
One of the steps before work can start is to obtain temporary easements from property owners to access the creek. When that is complete, the county will subcontract the work out to get those emergency repairs under way, which could include building “gabian walls” — retaining wall type barriers to keep the creek in its proper place.
“Then we will go through the design and bidding for the remainder of the two and a half miles,” he said.
The waterway repair will be going on as residents continue their own battle to get their homes back in order. Some of that work has already started through Samaritan’s Purse, a North Carolina-based relief agency that travels the world helping during the aftermath of disasters.
Eldridge said he feels the whole relief effort went well, but as those are over “we are starting to go into the recovery phase.”
Another part of that recovery will be available to residents from the Small Business Association.
“I have the SBA disaster declaration for Washington County,” Eldridge said.
“The SBA will be making loans available to individuals and businesses in Washington County” at a reduced interest rate, he said. The loan must be used for flood-related damage. For more information, visit http://1.usa.gov/ffJSJX.
In the meantime, Eldridge said there is an effort under way to raise money to help those affected by the flood. He firmed up an agreement between the county and United Way of Washington County for that nonprofit agency to collect donations for the rebuild.
Press writers Gary Gray and Sue Guinn Legg contributed to this article.