NEW BERN, NC (WITN) - The city of New Bern is taking the next steps to better prepare for future storms after Hurricane Florence devastated part of the city's infrastructure.
On Richmond Court in New Bern, many of the homes survived the worst of Hurricane Florence over a year ago, but the impact of the storm on the city's drainage system is now being felt in many areas.
City leaders are moving forward with a project to restore the drainage system and its infrastructure.
At Tuesday night's Board of Aldermen meeting, aldermen approved a proposed that will include permanent repairs to about 60-80 bulkheads and headwalls throughout the city.
A bulkhead is like a retaining wall and used to protect homes and other structures from floodwaters.
Public Works Director Matt Montanye said, in addition to building the bulkhead retaining walls, crews will clean out 80-miles of ditches to help improve resiliency against future storms.
"New Bern is a very low community when it comes to elevation. We have a lot of low-lying communities close to the river, so it's important that we have everything functioning properly so that when a storm does come, the water can get out as quickly as possible," said Montanye.
Matt Montanye said, for example, if we got a hurricane tomorrow with another storm surge like Hurricane Florence, there would be flooding in a lot of areas...
This is a FEMA funded project. FEMA has approved 32-million dollars for the repairs, but it will be a 100% real cost reimbursement.
The city is working with engineers to design and analyze the project, and whatever is spent to complete the repairs, FEMA will reimburse in full.
New Bern leaders expect the work on the project to begin within 6-8 months.