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Changes are coming to Wiggins Mill, but officials are optimistic that construction efforts will guard the city’s raw water equipment during future storms.
“After losing all pumping capability during Hurricane Floyd and almost losing capability during Hurricane Matthew, even with abundant preparation and response, we have decided to move the pumping station critical equipment above the current 500-year flood elevation for safety and reliability,” said Water Resources Director Barry Parks.
The Wilson City Council approved a $2.7 million contract in April with Dellinger Inc. to complete the work, but the contractor had to push back the start date until the large vertical turbine pumps were constructed and other equipment was ready.
Crews from Rice’s Outdoor Services were on-site this week removing trees where a building will be constructed to house some of the equipment. Other equipment will remain in place, but be elevated. Construction is expected to be complete next September.
“During Hurricane Floyd, all pumping equipment was lost for several days as flooding over-topped the sandbags,” according to City Manager Grant Goings’ memo to the council in April. “Since this is the major raw water supply for the city of Wilson, it is critical to protect these assets as much as possible from repeated threats of damage.”
To make way for construction, the floating docks will be removed and access from U.S. 301 will be closed permanently later this month. Officials said access to the Contentnea Creek will be available from Wiggins Mill Road and the access point on Downing Street.
City staff has pitched ideas for enhanced recreation opportunities at Wiggins Mill, but no funding has been allocated for the improvements.