Town hires project consultant

Published 10:54 am Thursday, July 17, 2008

By Staff
Three-phase plan calls for replacing Water Street bridge
Staff Writer
BELHAVEN — The police department is not the only restoration project under way in Belhaven.
The town has hired a consultant for a three-phase project to restore Wynne’s Gut and replace the Water Street bridge.
The town hired Kimley-Horne &Associates as consultant on the project after interim Town Manager Guinn Leverett reviewed presentations by numerous firms.
The centerpiece of the project is the replacement of the bridge, which has been in service since 1940, according to Leverett.
Project manager Cecil Narrone, who works for Kimley-Horne &Associates, displayed a good understanding of the bridge replacement project, Leverett said.
The town wants to make the bridge “as pleasing to the eyes as we can,” Mayor Adam O’Neal said at the Town Council’s meeting Monday night.
The existing bridge is completely uninspired, Leverett said.
At the meeting, Councilman Howard Moore told Leverett he wants the bridge to have walkways on each side.
O’Neal assured Moore the bridge will feature a walkway down to docks the town plans to build on the eastern side of Wynne’s Gut, downstream from the bridge.
To receive funding for the docks, Belhaven applied for a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service. The town was awarded a grant, with help from the Belhaven Yacht Club.
The town must meet with NMFS to follow up with specifics of the grant, he said.
The third phase of the project is the brainchild of Councilman Mac Pigott, who has previously tried to lead a watershed restoration of Wynne’s Gut.
When O’Neal and Leverett went to Washington, D.C. to lobby for funds for a new breakwater for the town’s harbor, they made some unexpected progress in regard to the watershed restoration.
After speaking with environmental scientist Joe Lassiter, O’Neal and Leverett decided that project was feasible.
With the help of Lassiter, the town hopes to obtain the required permits from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Division of Coastal Management, which enforces the state’s Coastal Area Management Act regulations.
Leverett believes the watershed restoration is a done deal.
The watershed restoration will be done in two phases: engineering and cleanup.
He believes the restoration phase could be daunting.
After the consulting firm was hired, Leverett familiarized it with the project’s second and third phases.
Leverett devised the three-phase plan.
He believes the public will “really enjoy the project if it’s very well done.”