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By Erin Smith

Work to repair a scour hole near the William O. Huske Lock and Dam No. 2 near Elizabethtown has been delayed once more due to flooding of the Cape Fear River. The US Army Corps of Engineers estimates work will be completed by the end of the summer but not in time for the Shad run.

According to Lisa Parker, a spokesperson with the US Army Corps of Engineers, said that due to record rainfall, coupled with Hurricane Florence, water levels on the Cape Fear River have been persistently high at the work site.

“The contractor has just recently returned to work on the Lock and Dam No. 2 project. The current anticipated date for completion of placement of rock in the river is, near the end of the summer; due to environmental regulations restrictions,” said Parker.

She added that work is once again being impacting this week due to current high water conditions. A flood watch for the Cape Fear River in the vicinity of the Lock and Dam No. 3 near Tar Heel in Bladen County is in place until 7 a.m. Thursday.

“Upon the completion of rock placement in the river, the contractor will demobilize equipment from the project and restore the site, prior to the area being opened to the public. Demobilization and site restoration may take another three to four weeks after in water work is completed, provided the area is not flooded,” said Parker.

When asked about the size of the scour, Parker emphasized that the scour is not in the dam itself but rather is located downstream, just south of the dam. Parker said the work is being performed to prevent the scour from growing and reaching closer to the dam.

“The depth of this hole varies, but was at least —in some locations —the hole is 45-feet deep,” said Parker.

She explained the process being utilized to repair the scour hole. Parker said the contract involves placing about 67,000 tons of rock and armor stone within the scour hole, located downstream/south of the dam. She emphasized the purpose of filling the scour with the rock is ensure that it does not grow in size and thereby move to the dam.

The contract for the work was awarded to Lambert Engineering and Construction Services in September 2017 for about $8.4 million. The final costs will not be known until the contract is complete, according to Parker. The William O. Huske Lock and Dam No. 2 has been closed to the public since September 2017.

Parker said the contract included an in-water construction environmental moratorium which does not allow in-water construction from March 15 to May 30, 2018 to accommodate sensitive fish activity. Also, high water levels from August to January 2019 impacted the contractor’s ability to conduct work, which predominantly is in the river, within the work site.

Once the work to repair the scour hole is completed, the park area will be returned to the town of Elizabethtown. The town of Elizabethtown has leased the property from the Corps of Engineers for a park.

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