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By Charlotte Smith

A log jam from underneath the US Highway 701 bridge across the Cape Fear River in Elizabethtown has more work to be done according to Andrew Barksdale, a Public Relations Officer with the North Carolina Department of Transportation. InterCoastal Contracting, Inc., an unlimited general contracting company from Castle Hayne, who was awarded a scope of work to clean up the debris and fix the fender system will go back into the river this week, to look for any more logs at the bottom of the river stuck against the bridge’s piers and piles, according to Barksdale.

“We think there are a few more logs there. We want those divers to let us know what else is down there before we send our own divers to inspect the piers and piles of the bridge underneath the water,” Barksdale explained.

Barksdale announced another issue stating, “Jordan Lake this week did a massive water release, which flows into the Cape Fear River, and we’ve had more rain.

Once again, the water levels are too high right now.”

He continued, “The water is way outside of the banks. So, the water current is too high for the contract divers to safely do their work. Plus, we couldn’t get the equipment back into the water now to remove any logs they find, because of the water being so high above the banks.

Ken Clark, NCDOT District Engineer for Bladen and Columbus counties was quoted, “I’ve never seen the river stay so high for so long this year.”

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Once the contract divers can get back in there and identify (for removal) any more logs along the bridge below water, then NCDOT will send their own divers there to inspect the piles and piers of the bridge below the surface, according to Barksdale.

Repairs were also scheduled to be made to the fender system which protects the bridge. The work on the fender system to be done by InterCoastal Contracting, Inc., however, is not expected to be completed until September 2019 due to a moratorium on work being performed in the Cape Fear River from February through July.

Barksdale explained that the work to remove the log jam is deemed an emergency by the US Army Corps of Engineers and they have allowed work on the log jam to proceed during the moratorium period.