Wilson Blvd. repair delayed by dam agreement

Wilson Blvd. repair delayed by dam agreement

RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Ten months later, October's historic flood is still having a major impact on one Midlands community.

Wilson Boulevard in Richland County was damaged by the failure of the Lake Elizabeth dam in October. The dam is still broke and the roadway remains closed to traffic.

The reason: It all comes down to money. Before Wilson Boulevard is fixed, the S.C. Department of Transportation said the dam must be repaired. That's going to cost millions of dollars, which is an expense the state says homeowners have to pay.

S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Lake Elizabeth Homeowner's Association are continuing to point fingers over who should pay for repairs to the Lake Elizabeth dam.

"It's nothing us or anyone else could've done to stop the flood," said Roger Jones, resident. "The state doesn't want to fix it all they want to do is blame us."

The dam is owned by the Homeowner's Association and regulated by DHEC. DHEC said the HOA's engineers are in charge of coming up with a plan to reconstruct the dam. The HOA estimates repairs costing anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million.

"I, Roger Jones, don't have that type of money," Jones said. "I don't know who else has that type of money."

"With only a few property owners, there's no way we could consider paying for it," said Ralph Hendrix, resident.

This debate has now left SCDOT with their hands tied. When the dam broke, it caused a part of Wilson Boulevard to wash away, but SCDOT said they can't fix the road until the dam is repaired.

"I think DHEC and DOT, SCDOT should pay for it because they're the ones who have the roads sitting across the top our dam," said David Jacobs, E Z Xpress business owner. "I really feel bad for the businesses that have opened on Wilson Boulevard. It's killed 85 percent of our business."

Jacobs's business is just a stone's throw away from the closure on Wilson Boulevard. He hopes the dam is repaired soon because the longer the road is out, the more business he loses.

"We're on the verge of closing this place down on account of this," Jacobs said.

DHEC is asking for the HOA to provide a "firm plan of action" to  repair the dam by Sept. 1. DHEC says state funding is not available to assist with repairs.

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