Commissioners hear about transit issues

Published 3:09 am Tuesday, October 7, 2008

By Staff
Ferries already pressed, bridges take time
Staff Writer
Bridges — over water that’s troubled or otherwise — are pricey, the county commissioners heard Monday night.
And trying to take a boat’s not much better, officials said.
Charlie Piner, assistant director of operations for the N.C. Department of Transportation’s ferry division, told the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners that his office has been asked by the state to look for ways to reduce costs statewide.
The news came on a night Piner was supposed to address the board on the prospects of increasing ferry service between Bath and Aurora.
Pushed to the extreme, that could mean cutting trips, he said.
Adding ferry trips at the busiest times, when shifts are changing at PCS Phosphate’s mine and plant complex in Aurora, likely would require another boat, Piner said.
But there currently isn’t enough room at the docks for two boats, so those would have to be expanded as well, he said.
If told to do so by the state, the soonest the ferry service could increase would be the new year, when new schedules will have been printed, Piner said.
Woody Jarvis, district engineer for Division II of the N.C. Department of Transportation, told the commissioners the bridge on Clark’s Neck Road should be fully replaced by about this time next year.
He said the public has been communicating directly with his office.
Jarvis said bridge replacements are affected by the various environmental regulations that govern construction near water, and that federal authorities only allow construction activity in flowing bodies of water at certain times of the year.
The work has just come back into season, and now the rush is on to beat the winter’s bad weather, he said.