LUMBERTON — About 200 people took about four hours today to put in place 5,000 sandbags and two berms that they hope will slow any floodwaters that try to take the same route that the Lumber River did in 2016 to bring chaos to West and South Lumberton.
Sen. Danny Britt said about 130 civilians, 40 national guardsmen and 25 city employees worked together to fill the sandbags and then place them under the Interstate 95 bridge at the GSX railroad, just west of West Fifth Street. West Lumberton Baptist Church, which suffered great damage during Matthew, served as the staging area.
“It is truly amazing to see the best of people come out,” Britt said. “Everytime I would look over my shoulder I would see someone else walking up with shovel wanting to help. And they were willing to help not to protect their own neighborhood, but that of their friends and neighbors.”
Britt said that some sandbags were kept in reserve for use later if needed.
He said also that there were two berms, one about 6 to 7 feet high and another about half as tall that was on higher ground that were built between the bridge and West Fifth Street, one on each side of the track.
City officials are hoping that the fortification of the water plant and the sandbags at the I-95 bridge will provide protection that didn’t exist during Hurricane Matthew.