The flood that occurred in Alexander County on November 12, 2020 will be remembered by many for the tragic loss of life and damage that occurred. The flooding caused the closure of 16 roads for repairs, and 13 roads still closed.
The Alexander County Board of Commissioners heard a highway update from Public Information Officer Gary Herman at their March 1 Zoom meeting.
Herman said he has been in close contact with North Carolina Department of Transportation Division 12 staff to help keep the public up-to-date on the road situation.
He said three highways have been repaired and reopened, including Millersville Road, Nester Road and Smith Grove Church Road.
The bridge at Cheatham Ford Road will be replaced. The project is under contract and is in the design phase. The contractor is removing debris from the flood, as well as debris from where part of the bridge collapsed. The new bridge is expected to be completed in December 2021.
Herman said the following roads should be repaired in mid-to-late April: Rocky Face Church Road (at Pressley Court), 591 Berea Church Quincy Road, 1949 Berea Church Quincy Road, and Sloan Road.
Work is underway on Macedonia Church Road in Glade Creek while the contractor continues grading and erosion control measures. Work has also begun at 2535 Rocky Springs Road. At 958 Sulfur Springs Road, the pipeline was installed and partially filled, and the contractor is forming a concrete wall to reinforce the culvert.
Contractors will schedule pre-construction meetings in the near future for the following highway projects: 7858 Cheatham Ford Road, Hopewell Church Road (at Mill Creek), 1069 Lackey Mountain Road, and Jud Smith Road (at Marlowe Road).
Herman said the only road repair that is not progressing is Old Wilkesboro Road, near the Jaycee Park Loop. NCDOT is working with utility companies to relocate underground utilities to allow for road repair.
In other businesses:
• Commissioners received an update on the county wireless broadband expansion project David Moose, Compliance / Procurement Specialist. He said the staff has reviewed the contract with Open Broadband LLC and referred it to an attorney for further review.
Staff recently held a planning meeting with Open Broadband to discuss their proposal to provide wireless broadband to underserved and underserved areas of the county. During that meeting, it was decided to proceed in two phases, as half of the proposal was quite concrete, while the other half will require additional planning and discussion.
Phase One will include the installation of additional equipment in the tower atop Linney’s Mountain to strengthen the signal for the expansion project, as well as the rental of tower space on Willie McLeod Road and on Moore Mountain that would help serve Ellendale, Sugar Loaf and Vashti. areas. Phase Two, which will serve the eastern and southeastern areas of the county, continues to be investigated by Open Broadband to determine the best tower locations.
• Commissioners passed a resolution to allow the county to apply for a North Carolina Commercial Building Reuse Grant for “Project Buckeye One.” The county will apply for an $ 80,000 grant that will support a local industry. The grant will be administered by the Economic Development Corporation and Alexander County will provide a local contribution of five percent for grant administration, if the grant is awarded.
• Benjie Thomas of West Consultants reported that the Bethlehem Sewer Project is substantially complete, meeting the March 11 deadline. The contractor is now clearing and grassing the affected areas, and will complete a list of smaller items in the near future to complete the project. Thomas said the county recently received its third loan payment of approximately $ 900,000 from the state. The final change order will be sent to the state in the near future to complete loan payments to the county.
• President Larry Yoder expressed concern about the amount of litter on the roadsides in Alexander County. He urges everyone to “take pride in your community and properly dispose of your trash.” Gary Herman, a public information officer, said he has been in contact with the NCDOT garbage management coordinator for Alexander County in the hopes that a cleanup event can be held in April.
• County Manager Rick French said that the Alexander County Soil and Water Conservation District has been investigating the Emergency Watershed Protection Program, which is a federal emergency recovery program that helps local communities to recover after a natural disaster, such as the November 12 flood. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service would pay up to 75 percent of the cost for eligible emergency projects, while the county would have to pay 25 percent of the cost, which Soil staff & Water currently believes it will be $ 19,875.
• French County Manager said the Alexander County Household Hazardous Waste and Documents Destruction Day is scheduled for Saturday, May 1 from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm at the County Administration building ( 621 Liledoun Road, Taylorsville).
• At the Consolidated Human Services Board Meeting, Deputy Director of Health Billie Walker presented a local COVID-19 update. She said Alexander County has a cumulative total of 3,918 confirmed cases, with 84 deaths and 13 people currently hospitalized.
The health department continues to hold self-service testing clinics on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 10:00 am, although there has been a significant decrease in testing.
Walker said the county has received 500 first doses of the Moderna vaccine in the past two weeks, but he’s not sure how many doses will be received next week. In all, the county has received 6,550 doses and administered 6,458 doses in efforts to avoid waste.
He said the health department has been very busy planning, scheduling and administering the vaccine. The new vaccine hotline has received 64,681 calls since it was established in early January 2021. The hotline number is 828-352-7724.
Currently, the health department is targeting teachers and child care staff with more than 350 vaccinations scheduled for Wednesday, March 3 from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm in both the health department and the Alexander Senior Center. . Health personnel have been working with local manufacturers to schedule their employees’ vaccinations starting Wednesday, March 10, if the vaccine supply allows.
Leeanne Whisnant, Director of Consolidated Human Services, said: “We appreciate our volunteers, EMS, pharmacists and others who are helping us. I am proud of the response and of our dedicated staff. We have received a lot of compliments, so I think it went really well. “
• Linda Clements, DSS Deputy Director, reported on numerous topics including the aging agenda, economic services, youth and adult placement challenges, the Family First Prevention Act, budget changes, and Senate impact bills. in the DSS.
He also reported that the transformation to NC Medicaid Managed Care is underway as enrollment packets are currently being mailed to Medicaid clients. The packets will help explain the process and guide clients in choosing a health plan. Some people will stay in the current fee-for-service program (now called NC Medicaid Direct) and will not receive a letter.
The Alexander County Board of County Commissioners generally meets the first Monday of each month at 6:00 pm in Room # 103 at the CVCC Alexander Education Center.
The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 5 at 6:00 p.m.