Residents in Kelly circulated a petition for the repair of the White Oak Dike in April of this year. The dike was heavily damaged by Hurricane Florence when two large breaches and four smaller breaches occurred which led to the flooding of the town of Kelly.
The Kelly Dike Committee, the Bladen County Board of Commissioners and other elected officials have been working together to repair the issues caused at the dike by the storm. The Chairman of the board, Charles Ray Peterson, explained the short-term and long-term plans set forth in reference to the Kelly dike issues.
Currently, a contractor by the name of Southern Landscaping has been awarded the job to repair the breaches, fill holes, cover areas with sod, and remove fallen trees, according to Mr. Peterson. This work has already started at the dike site. Mr. Peterson released some current photos of the project. He reports being pleased with the progress at the location.
The current repairs are funded by the Kelly Water Dike and Drainage District, which has approximately $35,000 to work with according to Mr. Peterson. Also, during a recent county board meeting the commissioners agreed to open the county’s discretionary fund for a line item up to $35,000 to help with the dike repairs.
The long term plan is to get the Department of Defense to take over the project after an engineer and design study is provided, Mr. Peterson explained. He added the repairs taking place now will only be temporary.
Mr. Peterson announced earlier this week, the state elected officials have agreed to fund $300,000 for an engineer and design study for the White Oak Dike. Of course, the state funding will only be available after the new budget is passed by Governor Roy Cooper.
“After we get the study done all we will lack for is the military application,” Peterson said, “Then, hopefully, we can get the assistance from the [United States] Department of Defense through the IRT (Innovative Readiness Training).”
According to the Corps of Engineers, Hurricane Florence led to new record flooding in the Kelly area with flood waters reaching 30.68 feet. The 1945 flood which prompted strengthening the dike measured 29.80 feet and flooding created by Hurricane Matthew measured 28.58 feet.
Some officials are also encouraging people inside the flood zone to purchase flood insurance, especially until the dike repairs are permanent.