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Bertie, Windsor officials oppose bridge plans

WINDSOR – Town and county officials are balking at the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s suggestion to close the Cashie River bridge, spanning US 17 Business, in Windsor next year during the process of improving the structure.

At a meeting of the Bertie County Commissioners, County Manager Zee Lamb told the board of the state’s plan.

“They said they could do it quicker if they closed the bridge for three months,” he stated.

Lamb continued, “But if they did close it, it would disrupt this community.

Response times for emergency personnel would be much longer as all traffic would have to be rerouted to Green’s Cross.”

In order to get from one side of the river to the other if the bridge were closed, traffic would have to be detoured by 15 miles.

Windsor Mayor Bob Spivey reportedly first alerted county officials to the state’s new idea and informed them that the town was formally opposing the suggestion.

The county commissioners apparently are also in opposition as they made a motion to also not allow the state to close the road.

“We should support keeping this road open, and letting them do it (bridge repairs) one lane at a time,” Lamb commented.

Doing an offsite detour, in which the bridge would be closed completely for several months, would cost a total of $1,028,100 and construction could be completed in an estimated 97 working days (about 6 months).

Closing one lane of traffic at a time would cost a total of $1,404,900 and would take a total of 200 working days.

However, it appears that town and county officials agree that the added travel time for citizens, as well as the added emergency response time and rerouting of school buses, is not worth the saved money and construction time.

DOT has reportedly already begun the process of right-of-way acquisition as of June of this year and construction is slated to begin in June of 2009.

According to the staged construction plan, that means starting next June traffic going across the bridge will be placed in a one-lane, two-way pattern for two years while the repairs are made.

DOT plans call for a 15-foot widening and structural improvements for the bridge.