Last Friday’s flash flooding in Campbell County has left the Campbell County Highway Department with a long task ahead as they tackle the clean up along with repairs to roads, ditches and bridges throughout the area.
Superintendent Ron Dilbeck, facing his second major road repair and cleanup of 2019 from flooding causes, sent The Volunteer Times these early estimates detailing what he and his crews will be undertaking in the coming days and weeks.
Over 30 miles of roadways in Demory and Long Hollow alone will be in need of repair. Most of those same 30 miles will also face ditch clean out and repair issues. There are more roads in the county that will need repair and ditch repair but Demory and Long Hollow suffered the most widespread damage. There are over 100 mudslides along roadways in Campbell County and his office is still finding them and that total is growing daily. The damage is so significant and widespread that all areas haven’t been assessed as yet.
As many as six bridges in the county have been damaged and one of those bridges was completely destroyed. There will be further bridge inspections in the coming days. The county has already removed more than 50 trees from area roadways. The biggest debris related task however has been removing all the mud, dirt and rock. Thousands and thousands of tons have been displaced and dumped into roadways, ditches and other drainage areas. Piles of debris as much as six feet deep were located in areas of Long Hollow near the bottom of Camp Ridge Road.
Those huge piles of rock and mud often came as water raced down ridges, along and beside roads. Severe undercutting happened in those areas and pavement near edges of washes may be weak. Use extreme caution if driving near areas where large washouts are along side of the road.
Quite a lot of damage also occurred in LaFollette city limits. City Administrator Jimmy Jeffries told the Volunteer Times that analysis of city losses were still underway but they are expected to be significant. At one point Beech Street was awash in mud that flowed from the hill near the former West LaFollette elementary towards City Hall. South Tennessee Avenue was under water along side City Hall. The fire and police department had high water in the building. Several cruisers went under water. Central Avenue through the heart of LaFollette was under several feet of water. Side streets lost pavement in many areas. The areas around LaFollette Middle saw thick mud and debris strewn about as well as road and drainage damages.
Beginning Monday Campbell County EMA director Jay Muncy said that five teams will be out assessing damages. Two representatives from T.E.M.A and three emergency directors from neighboring counties will be assisting Muncy in the efforts.