Bridge decision expected

Published 7:16 pm Friday, March 9, 2012

The Washington City Council is expected to decide Monday on the fate of the Charlotte Street Bridge. Options include permanently removing or replacing the road to improve water flow in the Jack’s Creek Basin. (WDN File Photo/Christ Prokos)

Two options regarding the Charlotte Street bridge are included in the Washington City Council’s tentative agenda for its meeting Monday night.

One option would authorize the city manager to withdraw demolition of the bridge from the current contract with T.A. Loving Co. (doing drainage work in the city). The other option would authorize the city manager to restart demolition of the bridge as contracted with T.A. Loving Co.

The council’s expected decision comes after a Feb. 27 public hearing in which the majority of speakers called on the city to remove the bridge or replace its existing metal pipes with four 8-foot-by-8-foot box culverts to improve draining in the Jack’s Creek basin after major storms and hurricanes. The Charlotte Street bridge project is part of a larger $3.8 million construction project to improve drainage in the Jack’s Creek drainage area, which handles about 80 percent of stormwater drainage in the city.

At its Jan. 23 meeting, the council rejected the recommendation of Allen Lewis, the city’s public-works director, to replace the Charlotte Street bridge — or remove it altogether — to improve drainage in the Jack’s Creek basin.

Lewis told the council that without replacing the existing culverts or tearing down the bridge, ongoing efforts to improve drainage farther upstream in Jack’s Creek would go “for naught.” He said the Charlotte Street bridge becomes a bottleneck when Jack’s Creek is swollen with stormwater runoff and/or floodwaters. He warned that bottleneck, during a major rainfall or hurricane, could result in significant flooding of properties adjacent to Jack’s Creek.

“Long story short, one of two things have got to take place, in my mind anyway from an engineering standpoint. We need to either replace the culverts underneath Charlotte Street, which is going to run you in the neighborhood of $800,000 to a million dollars, or take them out and open the creek up,” Lewis said then.

The Washington City Council meets at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building, 102 E. Second St. The council’s entire agenda may be obtained by visiting the city’s website at

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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