By Charlotte Smith
The Elizabethtown Cemetery and bridge are causing great concerns for residents and officials. Since the hurricane waters receded the Elizabethtown City Cemetery and the U.S. 701 Bridge over the Cape Fear River have been compromised according to Town of Elizabethtown Mayor Sylvia, Campbell.
A substantial amount of debris has accumulated under the bridge causing the bridge to be compromised and the geological shift in the soil at the cemetery in close proximity to the bridge has caused another set of concerns. BladenOnline.com first reported on the debris and cemetery damage last week.
Mayor Campbell confirmed a Geotechnical Engineer inspected the cemetery site at the Town of Elizabethtown’s request. The North Carolina Department of Transportation has inspected the bridge and the damaged area at the cemetery.
Campbell added, North Carolina Governor Roy Copper did access the issues with the cemetery and the bridge in Elizabethtown yesterday, Wednesday, September 27.
“The cemetery was the first thing the Governor asked me about when I met him yesterday at the Elizabethtown Airport,” Campbell said.
The soil has shifted at the cemetery more than two feet in depth in some areas and the damage stands from one side of Queen Street to the other. The road has splits down the middle causing the asphalt to crack and buckle.
Mayor Campbell and Assistant Town Manager, Pat DeVane discussed the impact of the damages to the cemetery and the debris under the bridge with Governor Cooper and engineering professionals.
“There are all kinds of state laws regarding cemeteries. They tell you what you can and can’t do,” Mayor Campbell explained.
“We are working on it and it is our major concern right now,” Campbell continued, “We are very grateful we did not suffer any worse damage.”
Gov. Copper did release Executive Order number 62 dated September 21st to help start the hurricane-related debris removal process from the public right-of-way by the North Carolina Department of Transportation. Since the water has receded under the bridge plans may have changed on how to remove the debris.
BladenOnline.com did reach out to the North Carolina Department of Transportation representatives and other government officials. We have not received a response yet.
Citizens were also concerned about Go Gas, a fuel station located between the bridge and the cemetery. We attempted to contact a representative with their parent company, Quailty Oil Company, but did not hear back from them at time of publication either.
We will continue to report on issues as soon as more information is available.