ELIZABETHTOWN — Drivers and pedestrians will soon be able to use a new bridge constructed over Brown’s Creek. Elizabethtown Town Council met Monday night and approved an option for bridge repair work to be done on the bridge, whose foundation has been compromised by recent erosion.
The old bridge is a metal bridge, and its foundation was not laid deep enough in the surrounding landscape to support the erosion that takes place due to the bridge being in a corner of the creek.
Pat DeVane, director of public works for Bladen County, presented two options for the repair work. The first option was comprised of concrete pillars in the ground with the form being built on top. The second option allowed for I-beams to be placed across the creek. The concrete pillars were the more expensive option, costing about $7,000 or $8,000 more than the I-beams.
“I rarely pick the more expensive option, but I’m doing so in this case,” DeVane said. He added that the concrete pillars would last longer than the I-beams.
The erosion started about two years ago, and has completely deteriorated the foundation, causing it to be removed.
Concurrent with the bridge repair work, the public works department is considering how to use the sewer outfall line in the area. The outfall line, which is the natural area around a sewer line, is the perfect place to construct pedestrian and bike trails, an idea which is being considered. Since the area may be used for recreational traffic in the near future, the board approved the concrete pillars and added the construction of pedestrian handrails on the new bridge.
A timeline for the project was not given.
In other board action:
— The board recognized and welcomed new Elizabethtown Chief of Police Tony Parrish, who will be reporting to work and will be attending Town Council meetings.
— William Findt, president of Bladen Community College, and Jeff Kornegay, executive vice president and chief academic officer of Bladen Community College, presented a resolution that the board support the Connect NC Bond, which will be presented to the public for a vote on the March 15 ballot. The college is expected to get $6.5 million of the $2 billion bond, and will construct a science, technology, engineering and math building. Kornegay reported that the bond will not increase taxes. The request was approved.
— Devane made a request that the board declare surplus property to be disposed of. Among the items were two police cars (a Crown Victoria and a Dodge), a plotter and printer, and radio equipment. The items will be sold or auctioned off. The request was granted.
— Clark Brothers has requested that encasement pipes be installed at U.S. 701 and N.C. 242 to prepare for possible future growth. Though there are no plans at this time, laying the pipes now as construction is being done would save on future costs. The board agreed that this was good planning and passed the resolution.
— Howell Clark was appointed as alternate LRCOG member.
— Chris Adams and Maurice Williams were approved to serve on the Elizabethtown Planning Board. They will fill positions vacated by Howell Clark and Rufus Lloyd, who cannot serve on both the Town Council and the Planning Board and had to resign.
—The board approved the release of the Unpaid Tax Report and authorized the clerk to advertise the listing in the paper. It was reported that about $120,000 of the $180,000 in unpaid taxes was attributed to multi-year offenders.
— DeVane requested a change to the Downtown Sewer Collection Systems Rehabilitation Project. The change would line pipes on Woodhouse Drive, which have begun to deteriorate and are costing the town in repairs. The lining would extend the life of the pipes. Additionally, DeVane requested laying sewer lines under the road between Food Lion and Subway. The request was approved.
— Eddie Madden was recognized for his eight-year anniversary as town manager.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.