ASHEVILLE – N.C. Department of Transportation crews from the mountains have headed toward the coast.
More than 60 employees from various mountain counties departed on Tuesday to assist with repairing infrastructure in areas devastated by Hurricane Florence.
More than 40 employees from Division 13, the greater Asheville area, volunteered for the assignment and departed Tuesday afternoon for Sampson County.
Division 11, based in North Wilkesboro, had 22 volunteers depart Tuesday morning for Harnett County.
An additional 60 employees from Division 14, the 10 westernmost counties, are preparing to head east this weekend.
“It’s very rewarding to help people, and restore their roads and allow them to get back to their family, their houses and get back a semblance of normal life,” Division 13 Engineer Mark Gibbs said during the briefing meeting. “A lot of people lost everything they have. We get to help them.”
Their duties will be similar to the repairs they perform on a routine basis in their mountain communities. They’ll repair or replace crosspipes, fill in approaches to bridges, stabilize road supports and any other work that will help residents of Sampson County.
The Division 13 team travelled with 12 dump trucks, five crew-cab trucks, four trailers, three backhoes, two fuel trucks, two service trucks one parts truck and an assortment of small equipment. Buncombe County Maintenance Engineer Scott Killough is leading the team.
The Division 11 team has been assigned debris removal responsibilities in Harnett County for at least three days, potentially longer depending on the availability of sleeping space. The team of 22 volunteers took 15 dump trucks, three backhoes and four pickups, plus chainsaws for each team.
“We survived the storm much better than expected and we’re happy to help those who didn’t have the same fortunes,” Division 11 Engineer Mike Pettyjohn said. “We’re happy to help not just our DOT friends out east, but the people who need the help.”