Floodgates inch forward

By: Scott Bigelow - Staff writer

LUMBERTON — City leaders pushed forward Wednesday with flood mitigation projects to elevate a flood-prone sewerage lift station and to begin design work on floodgates in the Jacob Swamp Dike.

During Wednesday’s meeting, City Council members approved spending $80,000 to administer a $1 million grant for preliminary work on floodgates to stop water from flowing through the dike at the CSX Railroad tracks. McGill Associates, of Pinehurst, will administer the grant, and Atkins Engineering, an international company with offices in Charlotte, will do the design work.

The gates, which will cost an estimated $5 million or more, will be designed to block floodwaters from coming down VFW Road along the CSX railroad tracks under Interstate 95.

The council members also agreed to pay $32,670 to the Wooten Company, of Raleigh, to redesign a lift station near the old N.C. Cancer Center. The design will lift electronics above flood stage and make way for the installation of submersible pumps.

Public Works Director Rob Armstrong said the project will cost $400,000, and the the city will apply for grants to fund it. The lift station serves Caton Road, where Elkay Southern’s manufacturing facility is located,

Flooding cost the company several days of operation during hurricanes Matthew and Florence.

“The lift station remained flooded for several days because it is in a place that does not drain quickly,” Armstrong said. “It takes several more days to get it back in operation.”

City Manager Wayne Horne said the project is “critical to existing industry and prospective industry” in the corridor.

In other action, the council members approved loans to purchase a new fire truck and 13 vehicles for a variety of departments, including police and fire.

The fire truck will cost $600,000 and will be financed by BB&T over 10 years. The other vehicles will cost a total of $563,660 and will be financed by BB&T over five years.

The loans were put out for bid, and BB&T had the lowest interest rate at 2.26% for the fire truck and 2.05% for the vehicles.

The city agreed to take over maintenance of roads in the Pinecrest Village subdivision, and a subdivision proposed at Elizabethtown and Snake roads was forwarded to the Planning Board for review.

Two homes at 2311 Carver and 1906 Edgewood streets were slated for demolition after public hearings and deadlines passed for owners to make repairs.

Police Chief Mike McNeill got the green light Wednesday to apply for a three-year, $32,425 federal grant to pay for training, equipment and overtime.

City Council members also approved an up-front payment of $50,000 to buy a generator for the new Lumberton Municipal Airport administration building. The city will be reimbursed $45,000 when the Airport Commission receives its annual Federal Aviation Administration funding.

Although emergency services will continue, City Hall will be closed the week of Christmas, Dec. 23 through Dec. 27. City employees will get three paid holidays and take vacation for two days.

The City Council’s next meeting, which is Monday, will include the installation of Mayor Bruce Davis and City Council members Leroy Rising, Karen Higley, Chris Howard and Eric Chavis. All were re-elected in November’s municipal elections.


Scott Bigelow

Staff writer

Reach Scott Bigelow at 910-644-4497 or [email protected]

Reach Scott Bigelow at 910-644-4497 or [email protected]