Town seeks city’s help

Published 12:30 am Tuesday, November 22, 2011

During last week’s Washington City Council meeting, Don Wilkinson, a member of the Washington Park Board of Commissioners, asked the city to join Washington Park in an effort to persuade Carolina Coastal Railway to a repair or replace the CCR railroad crossing just west of Havens Gardens and near the bridge over Runyon Creek.

“Although the crossing is not in Washington Park, it is 500 feet away. … It is getting so bad that people slow down to … get over it or risk damage to their front-end alignment and/or dental work,” Wilkinson read from a letter that Washington Park Mayor Tom Richter sent to Virgil Holman, general manager of the railway.

“We’re hoping you all might join us in an appropriate letter to try to smooth this railroad crossing out,” Wilkinson said to the council.

The council took no immediate action on Wilkinson’s request.

In other action, the City Council authorized Mayor Archie Jennings to sign an agreement with the N.C. Department of Transportation to inspect bridges in the city.

The National Bridge Inspection Standards require all bridges exceeding 20 feet in length and open to the public be inspected for structural integrity and safety every two years. The city has one bridge over Jack’s Creek at East Main Street.

Depending on when that inspection occurs, the new Brown Street bridge over Jack’s Creek may be inspected as well, pending its completion. The inspection(s) will be conducted in 2012.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is responsible for ensuring that all bridges are inspected. DOT will employ an engineering company to make the inspections.

The Federal Highway Administration pays 80 percent of the inspection costs, with the city paying the remaining 20 percent.

A document included in the council’s agenda packet for last week’s meeting indicates it will cost an estimated $520 to inspect each bridge.

In other business, the council accepted a $33,205 grant and a $6,665 grant from the Mid-East Commission Area Agency on Aging.

The $6,665 Family Caregiver Support Program grant will go to the Grace Martin Harwell Senior Center, as will the $33,205 grant. The larger grant will be used to support and promote senior citizens’ health and general operations of the center. The larger grant requires the city to provide $6,401 in cash and a 10-percent in-kind match.

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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