SCDOT estimates damage from summer rains - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

SCDOT estimates damage from summer rains

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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The South Carolina Department of Transportation is working to determine exactly how much damage was done to roads in the Palmetto State after a summer of record rainfall.

Although SCDOT is dealing with a lot of damage in different parts of the state, local SCDOT officials tell WMBF News Horry County was pretty lucky. They assessed all the rain-soaked roads and found damage mostly on SC-31 in Red Bluff, just off of Highway 22.

But statewide, all the rains caused $5.6 million in damage on roads. The problem is the state only has a little more than $2 million set aside for emergency road maintenance. The remaining $3 million will have to be paid for through money normally set aside for general road maintenance.

The money difference could possibly affect Horry County, because even though the damage is only on one road, it still will cost thousands to fix. It's a bill local officials are unsure if the state is in a position to help pay for.   

"We, a lot of times, don't allot for storms or anything like that, so I guess it's a case by case basis," said Shannon Welch, the SCDOT Resident Maintenance Engineer. "It depends, I guess, on how much damage, and how much repairs are going to cost."

Since the damage on SC-31 isn't a hazard to drivers, SCDOT can take its time with repairs and figure out how to pay for the damages. Right now the main focus is on fixing drainage ditches. Welch says the maintenance office is pretty busy.

"We have a lot to do. We're behind. It's taking a couple months to even get to the requests," said Welch.

And the requests have been pouring in. In just two months, 630 requests to fix drainage issues have stacked up, when the maintenance office is only used to 200. Welch has even had to take workers off of other jobs, so they could have more people focusing full-time on the digging and clearing, but it's still going to be a slow process.

"People follow up every day and they expect something to be happening sooner than it is," explained Welch. "And we just tell them to be patient."

Most of the drainage issues have been in Conway and Loris. At the rate things are going, Horry County SCDOT workers hope to get the requests done by the end of this year.

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