Residents explore options after bridge washes away

Credit: Submitted by D. Whitley

Residents explore options after bridge washes away


by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

Posted on July 1, 2013 at 6:23 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 8 at 1:19 PM

IRON STATION, N.C. -- A temporary crossing bridge over a washed out road in Lincoln County is expected to be removed Tuesday morning, roughly 36 hours after it was put in place.

The bridge allowed cars to get into and out of the Trinity Farms neighborhood in Iron Station after heavy rain washed away Amity Lane Friday night and left about 20 families stranded.

The crossing bridge is on loan and needs to be returned.  However, a foot bridge will remain and is expected to become the main way people access their cars.

(Click here to view photos from the scene)

Starting Monday night, neighbors plan to park their cars on the other side of the washed out road and use the foot bridge to get to them once the crossing bridge is gone.

They got an orange notice on their doors saying just that.

"We're up that creek without a paddle," said neighbor Barbara Kiker.

Kiker can make the long walk to her car, up and down a steep, muddy hill.

Debbie Whitely cannot.  She has a bad hip requiring surgery and walks with a noticeable limp while being held up by her two daughters.

"I'm not able to walk. I can't stand five minutes without falling," she said

The North Carolina Forestry Service and local firefighters installed the crossing bridge Sunday night.

Amity Lane washed away Friday night when heavy rain caused a old drain pipe to fail and the gravel road collapsed.

Robbie Lowman crossed it for the first time Monday to stock up on groceries and get mail, which included his prescription.

"Just in case, you know, we are trapped," Lowman said.

Repairing the washed out road is expected to cost 30 to 50 thousand dollars, Lowman said.  The road is private property and the repair bill belongs to the people who live there.

Neighbors are looking into grants, raising money online and hoping Lincoln County or the state comes through with the money for repairs.

"We're all on fixed incomes," Lowman said.

"If the bridge is tore down, it doesn't give us enough time to get an estimate to fix the road and re-do the bridge. I mean, you try to get everything together in 36 hours, you can't do it, we still need more time," he said.

Neighbors plan to meet Wednesday night and see what else they might be able to do if no one else helps.

Local firefighters with an ATV are on standby at the washed out road in case someone needs help on the other side.