Brown Street bridge given boost in funds

Published 12:50 am Thursday, August 11, 2011

Washington’s City Council appropriated $220,000 more in city dollars to pay for the replacement of the Brown Street bridge.

The allocation of the additional funds to the $600,000 previously designated for the project came during the council’s meeting Monday, when it was informed estimated cost of the project increased to $820,000. That cost is reimbursable to the city at an 80-percent rate. That leaves the net cost to the city at approximately $164,000, which can be covered with Powell Bill funds.

Powell Bill revenues are monies local governments receive from the state for street-related projects.
The reason for the increase, at least in part, is because of a misunderstanding over how the project would be supervised during the construction phase, according to Allen Lewis, the city’s public works director.

“I was under the impression that we would be able to do our own inspection work on the construction process. That is not the case,” Lewis told the council.

The N.C. Department of Transportation will not allow the engineering firm that designed the project to serve as the project inspector, Lewis said. That policy means the city must hire another engineering firm to inspect the project, he said.

Lewis said the contract for construction engineering-inspection services should be awarded next month. The city should be in a position next month to advertise for bids to replace the bridge, Lewis said.

“We have advertised for inspection services as required and have a proposal that has been approved by NCDOT for approximately $79,000 with Summit Consulting out of Hillsborough,” Lewis wrote in a memorandum he sent to the mayor and council.

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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