2/20/2018 – State, local officials meet with NCDOT reps to discuss Connelly Springs Road/Castle Bridge closure

Posted on: February 20th, 2018 by admin

–PARTEND–

February 20, 2018

–PARTEND–

 

By Virginia Annable

(Lenoir) News-Topic

 

No one’s happy with plans in a few months to close Castle Bridge, which carries Connelly Spring Road over the Catawba River, but local officials aren’t sure what they can do about it.

 

A group of county and municipal officials and three state legislators met Monday at Cajah’s Mountain Town Hall with four N.C. Department of Transportation representatives to learn more about closure, which is scheduled to start in June so crews can begin work to replace the entire top portion of the bridge, a project that could take 18 months.

 

The NCDOT announced the closure in January, and several local officials who attended Monday’s meeting said that didn’t leave much time for anyone to absorb the implications, including how it will affect businesses on both sides of the Catawba River.

 

Mike LaBrose, one of three Caldwell County commissioners who attended, said he went to the meeting to learn what he could.

 

“I still have great concerns with the project, but now I know it needs to be replaced,” he said. “I just wish DOT would do a better job in communicating. … Even the DOT guy said, ‘We need to do a better job of informing people.’ … The bridge is getting replaced this summer and we’re still learning things.”

 

Commissioner Jeff Branch agreed.

 

“We’re still trying to work out all the kinks as to the best way to do this without hurting as many businesses … and commuters,” he said.

 

Officials at Monday’s meeting discussed whether there was a way to leave one lane open on the bridge during construction — NCDOT officials previously have said the bridge is too narrow for the equipment, lane dividers and a lane of traffic — or whether more money could be found to pay for building a new bridge while the existing bridge stays open.

 

State Rep. Destin Hall, R-Caldwell, said he hopes NCDOT officials gained appreciation for local concerns about the proposed closure.

 

“We made it very very clear that if it can safely be kept at least partially open, they should do that. … They said they would go back to the drawing board and look at ways to mitigate the impact,” Hall said.

 

The meeting also included two other state legislators: Sen. Warren Daniel, R-Burke, who represents the district that Caldwell County is part of for the 2018 election, and state Rep. Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke.

 

The NCDOT plans to host a public meeting about the project likely in May, Hall said.

 

Comments are closed.

©2011-2014 Economic Development Commission of Caldwell County • Site Mapinfo@caldwelledc.orgWebsite by Market Force