JOHNSON CITY (AP) — Washington County officials say reconstructing nearly three miles of a creek that left its streambed in a flood is going to be a big project.
Flash flooding on Aug. 5 followed heavy rain that swelled Dry Creek out of its banks and flooded homes and farms. Officials said four inches of rain fell in a short time.
County Mayor Dan Eldridge told area news media the rechanneling project is expected to cost about $3 million. There are no banks on the lower 2.5 miles of the creek.
“Basically from the Methodist Camp to the Nolichucky River will have to be remediated and it’s approximately two and a half miles. Obviously that’s a big project and it’s going to take a long time to complete,” Eldridge said.
The mayor said some of the work needs to be done quickly.
“Because some of those areas … will subject property owners to further flooding in the event of another large rainstorm, we have to do emergency repairs,” he said.
Officials estimate the cost of that work at $880,000.
Eldridge said that work will be done as soon as the paperwork can be submitted. The county must get temporary easements from property owners to get to the creek. The work might entail constructing temporary barriers to keep the creek in place in the event of another heavy rain.
“Then we will go through the design and bidding for the remainder of the two and a half miles,” he said.
While county officials work to tame the creek, homeowners in the area continue to clean up and repair after the flood.
The Small Business Administration has declared the county a disaster area, allowing low-interest loans.
“The SBA will be making loans available to individuals and businesses in Washington County” at a reduced interest rate, he said. The loans must be used for flood-related damage. Information is online at http://1.usa.gov/ffJSJX.
Eldridge also said an effort is under way to raise money to help people who had flood damage and can’t afford to repair or rebuild. United Way of Washington County is accepting donations to help them.