Bridge bids on hold

Published 1:18 am Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bids from contractors to replace the Brown Street bridge, closed since 2006 for safety reasons, should be in hand later this summer, according to a city official. (WDN Photo/Sara Cowell)

Brown Street project delayed as NCDOT seeks inspection

The replacement of the Brown Street bridge is being delayed as the N.C. Department of Transportation seeks a consultant to perform inspection work related to the project, according to Allen Lewis, the city’s public works director.

“The project can’t be let until that is worked out,” Lewis said Tuesday.

Lewis expects the project, B-5174, to be bid “sometime in August at the latest.” The project is funded through the 2011-2015 State Transportation Improvement Program. DOT’s website indicates the project, for now, has no start date or end date. The project description reads: “Brown Street. Replace bridge No. 80 over Jack’s Creek.”

Attempts to view a report about the project on DOT’s website were unsuccessful, resulting in several error messages that read: “Page not found.”

Lewis said he mailed a letter to DOT officials concerning the project, asking to be informed about anything that may further delay replacement of the bridge.

In April, the City Council amended the city’s budget to allocate funds to replace the bridge.

The estimated cost of the project is $600,000. The city is expected to provide $120,000 toward the project. The city is adding $20,000 in Powell Bill funds (money local governments receive from the state for street projects) to the $100,000 in city funds already appropriated for the project.

Plans call for the existing bridge to be replaced with a new bridge instead of box culverts, which had been considered as an option for replacing the existing bridge.

In October 2006, the bridge’s continuing deterioration caused the city to close the bridge for additional assessments to determine if it was feasible to repair or replace it. Motorists and several residents who live near the bridge complained about the bridge closure, saying it was an inconvenience. They asked that it be repaired or replaced.

In 2010, the city hired Ramey Kemp & Associates to perform engineering and other services needed to replace the bridge.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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