MURCHISON – Residents of a small community in Yancey County have been taking the long way over a gravel highway since the remnants of Tropical Storm Fred redirected the Cane River and washed out the approach to a bridge on N.C. 197.
N.C. Department of Transportation officials are implementing a plan to restore access to Pensacola and Burnsville by Friday.
NCDOT crews are currently partnering with local landowners and a local bridge contractor to create access across the river by installing a low-water bridge. This bridge will accommodate vehicles in dry weather and typical storm conditions.
Engineers are also in the process of developing a long-term solution to repair the existing bridge and the immediate area. Part of the plan includes reestablishing the Cane River and reinforcing the stream bank to prevent similar washouts from occurring again.
The current detour from Murchison to Burnsville is N.C. 197 to Interstate 26 then U.S. 19E.
The temporary plan for the low-water bridge includes a partnership with two local families who are allowing NCDOT crews to build a temporary road on their property so the temporary structure can be installed downstream of the existing bridge.
“We are working with Yancey County Schools to see how we can help the children get to school easier in the morning and back home easier in the afternoon,” Division 13 Maintenance Engineer Tim Anderson said. “We will be delighted when we can provide alternative access for the community.”