ROCKINGHAM — More than 6 miles of Hitchcock Creek will soon be cleared of storm debris.
The City Council on Tuesday awarded a bid contract to Alliance Integrated Solutions NC, Inc. to get the job done.
Assistant City Manager John Massey said the company will be removing storm debris along a 6.5-mile stretch of the creek from the Steele Street bridge to the confluence of the Pee Dee River.
Massey told the RO on Wednesday that the extent of the debris “is difficult to quantify.”
“There are numerous (don’t have an exact count) fallen trees and debris jams that make navigating the creek difficult and unsafe,” Massey said.
According to Massey, the city only received one bid — from Alliance — for the project, with the price tag coming in at $220,000.
Massey told the Council that Alliance “has considerable experience performing debris removal in aquatic environments and has specialized equipment to perform the required work.”
He added that the city received letters of recommendation from previous clients and said the company is currently working on other similar projects in the southeastern region of the state.
Massey said Alliance is planning to use a floating excavator and grind up the debris as they go.
The cost of the project will be covered by a $250,000 grant from the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Streamflow Rehabilitation Assistance Program.
According to the Ag Department, the General Assembly approved $38 million for StRAP projects for the previous fiscal year.
The program “allocates money for projects that protect and restore the integrity of drainage infrastructure of North Carolina’s waterways” and is administered by the N.C. Soil and Water Conservation Commission.
Mayor John Hutchinson said Jeff Joyner, chairman of the Richmond County Soil and Water Conservation District, brought the possible grant opportunity to the city.
The city will be reimbursed after completion.
Councilman Gene Willard said the $220,000 doesn’t sound like a bad price for the job.
“The last major debris removal project was in 2011 just prior to the official opening of the Hitchcock Creek Bluetrail,” Massey said.
The 14-mile paddle trail starts in Roberdel and winds its way southwest to the river.
“A subsequent smaller scale project was performed in 2014 after several severe storms left numerous trees down in the creek,” Massey added.
Since then, Richmond County has weathered damage from several hurricanes (Matthew in 2016, Florence in 2018, Ian in 2022) and numerous other storms.
“City staff has removed trees occasionally as needed generally in the section between Roberdel and Steele Street. The section below Steele Street is more difficult to access without specialized equipment, which Alliance Integrated Solutions NC, Inc. will utilize for this job.”
According to Massey the contractor has 120 days to complete the project once the city issues a Notice to Proceed, which will be after all contract documents are executed.
Massey said, based on conversations with the contractor, the project should be finished by the end of February.