Bridge to replace washed-out Johnston County culvert where 2 children died amid heavy rains

Johnston County News

SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WNCN) – A bridge will be put in place of a washed-out culvert that was damaged Oct. 31 during heavy rains, state transportation officials said.

The bridge over Arters Branch will be located along the 500-block of Galilee Road outside Smithfield.

The culvert was damaged by a flash flood during a storm on Aug. 31-Sept. 1.


The flood waters destroyed the metal crossline pipe, which the North Carolina Department of Transportation said it upgraded in the same location after Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.

The night of the storm, 5-year-old Alexa and 4-year-old Abraham Jr., were in their mother’s car around 11:30 p.m. when it ended up in Archers Branch creek off Galilee Road.

The mother was able to call 911 after the car was swept off the road.

Alexa and Abraham Jr.

As a rescue team reached the car, they were able to pull the mother and child from the car but the boat capsized and the boy was swept out of a firefighter’s arm, according to Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell.

Alexa was also swept away.

The children’s bodies were found in the days that followed.

NCDOT officials consulted with its Hydraulics Unit before deciding to build a bridge, which will allow a much greater amount of water to safely flow under the roadway.

The project will cost $1.1 million and should be completed in April.

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