Tyrrell commissioners oppose NCDOT proposal to remove Fonsoe Street Bridge
Published 8:25 am Thursday, September 30, 2021
The Tyrrell County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday, Sept. 21 to adamantly oppose the removal of Fonsoe Street Bridge.
NCDOT is proposing to close and remove the bridge the winter of 2021.
At the direction of the board, county manager and attorney David Clegg wrote a letter to Sterling Baker, NCDOT division engineer, NCDOT board member Allen Moran, N.C. Senator Bob Steinburg and N.C. Representative Ed Goodwin requesting a review of NCDOT’s plan and inquiring about other options, such as structured culverts.
The wooden bridge was built in 1961 and is 46 feet long and 25 feet wide. The driving and walking surface is 2.5 inches of asphalt. Middle and high school students use the bridge to walk to school.
In March 2012, a six-ton weight limit was placed on the bridge.
The project website states, “overweight vehicles have been witnessed crossing the structure. Due to this fact and safety concerns over the condition of the bridge, NCDOT is proposing to remove the bridge completely. The close proximity to additional roadways and bridges ensures that no hardship to the traveling public will be created by removal of the bridge.”
John Abel, bridge program manager with NCDOT Division One, wrote Clegg and included this information: “the Department is using a pilot policy that was developed in Raleigh by our Structure Management Unit. We use a scoring system to determine whether a bridge is a candidate for removal without replacement and this bridge does meet the criteria. We are looking at structures are at or near their useful life and that will not create an undue hardship if it is removed.”
After the bridge is removed, NCDOT is recommending that motorists use either of the following alternate routes: U.S. 64 to L.A. Keiser Drive to Elementary School Road or U.S. 64 to N.C. 94 (S. Broad Street) to Elementary School Road.
Tyrrell County has 23 bridges, of which four are structurally deficient, including the Fonsoe Street Bridge, which is Bridge No. 87, reports the project summary.
One replacement bridge, Newland Road Bridge over Riders Creek is currently under construction at a cost of $1.9 million. The two other structurally deficient bridges are Magnolia Cross/S.Fork Creek Road over a canal which is planned for replacement with costs estimated at $775,000 and Newlands Road over Second Creek is planned for replacement at a cost of $850,000.
To comment or ask questions about the proposal to remove the Fonsoe Street Bridge, go to ncdot.publicinput.com/Fonsoe-Bridge. At the bottom of the page is a space for recording comments or asking questions and well as a telephone number, which is 984-205-6615, code 7660.
The comment deadline is Friday, Oct. 8. The letter from Clegg has been posted in comments.