Bridge contract awarded

Published 1:12 am Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Five years after it closed the Brown Street bridge because of its deterioration, Washington’s City Council awarded a contract to replace the span.

The $602,046.58 contract with S.T. Wooten Corp. of Wilson was approved at the council’s meeting Monday.

Councilman Doug Mercer was quick to discuss the project. The council also adopted a budget-ordinance amendment to reallocate funds for the project in the amount of $100,000.

“I hate to bring this to the table again, but several weeks ago we amended the ordinance to allow for the monies for inspection. … I made the statement that I felt like before this project was completed, we would spend a million dollars on this bridge. The project started out in the order of $400,000,” Mercer said. “With the addition of $100,000 in the budget-ordinance amendment … we’re going to be at $950,000. I hate to say I told you so, but, guys, I did.”

In August, the council appropriated $220,000 more in city dollars to pay for the replacement of the bridge. The allocation of the additional funds to the $600,000 previously designated for the project came after the council was informed the estimated cost of the project increased to $820,000.

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. The state required the city to hire a firm to inspect the bridge during the replacement process.

During its Sept. 12 meeting, the council authorized spending $78,731.13 for engineering services required for construction engineering and inspection for the Brown Street bridge project. The city will use Summit Consulting, based in Hillsborough, for those services.

The project’s cost is reimbursable to the city by the state at an 80-percent rate.

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.

For additional coverage of the council’s meeting, see future editions of the Washington Daily News.

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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