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Repairs to washed away Wake, Franklin highways to take months

Rains totaled 7 inches in 2 hours

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UPDATE (6/11/2019): This story has been updated to reflect new estimated repair timelines from the N.C. Department of Transportation.


RALEIGH — State officials say repairs to multiple roads that were washed away by flood waters on Saturday, including U.S. Highway 401, will take months.

A section of U.S. 401 between N.C. Highways 96 and 98 was washed away by the Little River near the Franklin and Wake county lines. The N.C. Department of Transportation is tentatively estimating that the road can be rebuilt by the end of July.

"The location is within the work zone for a project to widen the highway to four lanes. NCDOT is working with the contractor for that project to determine temporary and permanent solutions for restoring traffic," the state said in a press release Monday.

As many as 12,000 vehicles travel along this section of U.S. 401 every day, NCDOT said. Until repairs are complete, drivers will have to take a 3-mile detour from N.C. Highway 98 to N.C. Highway 96 and back to U.S. Highway 401.

Another highway, N.C. 97 west of Zebulon, had also been damaged by Little River flood waters. An inspection on Monday revealed more damage than officials first anticipated, and the road is not expected to be repaired until June 30.

A detour is set up along Currin Perry, Green Pace and Water Tower roads, according to the release.

A handful of side roads are expected to remain closed for repairs until the end of June or July. Those include:

• Moores Pond Road north of Bud Wall Road near Youngsville, estimated to reopen June 22.

• Billy Hopkins Road north of Fowler Road near Zebulon, estimated to reopen July 30.

• Mitchell Mill Road south of N.C. 96 near Rolesville, estimated to reopen July 30.

• Country Club Road at Moccasin Creek near Zebulon, estimated to reopen July 30.

Some roads with minor damage reopened earlier this week:

• Halifax Road north of N.C. Highway 96 near Rolesville.

• Barham Siding Road north of N.C. 96 near Rolesville.

• Watkins Town Road north of Old Milburnie Road near Rolesville.

• N.C. Highway 96 north of Zebulon.

The latest travel and road conditions can be found at DriveNC.gov.

Flash flooding

The widespread road damage was the result of intense flooding Saturday afternoon.

National Weather Service meteorologist Chrissy Cockrell said 6-9 inches of rain fell in Rolesville and Youngsville between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday. The Little River swelled, and much of that water flowed downstream toward Zebulon, she said.

Officials said a strong thunderstorm swept across the area, but stalled over southern Franklin and northeastern Wake counties.

"There was just a cell that sat there and dumped on those poor folks," said Josh Creighton, deputy director for Wake County Fire Services. "For whatever reason the cell just did not move."

A couple living in a mobile home in northeastern Wake County had to be rescued from their home when water levels rose too quickly for them to get out on their own, Creighton added. There were no reports of injuries from the flooding in the county.

Jeff Lewis, director of Franklin County Office of Emergency Services, said parts of Youngsville saw 7 inches of rain in about two hours. At least two homes had their basements flooded, but the flooding didn't reach the residential areas of the homes, he said.

There were no injuries in Franklin County either, Lewis said.

Although sporadic showers are expected throughout this week, there is little to no risk of additional flooding, Creighton said.

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