WEBER CITY, VA (WJHL) – A month after a crane collapsed into the North Fork of the Holston River at a VDOT construction site, area property owners say they’re anxious for VDOT to finalize debris and construction work clean up and things aren’t back to normal.
The collapse happened at a bridge construction site off U.S. route 23 April 23. A sewer line ruptured during the collapse, sending thousands of gallons of waste water into the river. That sewer line is now repaired but some who live along the river have other sources of frustration.
Property owner, Jeff Flanary said he’s been trying to deal with constant flooding he said is caused by collecting debris and a temporary construction bridge that still sits on VDOT’s site.
“It’s less than a mile down to the construction site so we are getting all the back up. Every time it rains I have to, I have to feel like I’m going to get property damage,” Flanary said.
His pasture was relatively dry Thursday but after the crane collapsed last month, flooding caused damage.
“I’ve acquired a lot of expense,” Flanary said he’s having to repair fencing, he had to move dozens of his animals to safer locations during the flooding and he’s losing half of his hay crop. He’s also worried about that collecting debris breaking off the construction site possibly putting people downstream in danger.
“it’s the highest it’s gotten since the 12 years we’ve lived here,” area resident, Paul Fields said.
“It came up over those swings there all the way up through there,” Fields said. Although Fields is anxious for normalcy, he’s confident VDOT will get the job done.
“It looks like it’s pretty well stationary on the existing older bridge so they’ll just lift it out of there,” Fields said.
As Flanary makes repairs to his property, he’s hoping for an answer.
“It’s a beautiful river and I don’t want to see it damaged but I don’t want to see my property damaged neither,” Flanary said.
A VDOT spokesperson said it is working to finalize a plan with its contractor in the coming days; it will then be up for review. No word yet on a timeline but VDOT said it hopes to have it done as soon as possible. There’s also no word on how this collapse will impact VDOT’s existing bridge replacement project. The expected completion date for that project is Nov. 2018.
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