Burns Street bridge is coming down — eventually.
Hugh James, town public services director, asked the Wadesboro town council for permission during the council’s meeting Monday evening to begin replacing the bridge.
The bridge is obsolete and has a 29 percent efficiency rating, according to James. The North Carolina Department of Transportation recommends replacing bridges once they reach a 50 percent efficiency rating.
James noted that Burns Street sees both log trucks and school buses, and that the weight rating for the bridge is lowered every time the bridge is inspected.
The council voted unanimously to allow James to begin the process.
The path to building the bridge begins with paperwork. James will try to get the cost of the replacement largely reimbursed through the federal bridge replacement program, which he expects to reimburse 80 percent. The town used the same program to gain back 80 percent of the replacement cost of the Wade Street bridge. Preliminary estimates have shown that the bridge will likely take around $500,000 to replace, James said.
James said it will probably take two to three years to replace the bridge.
The town also committed to increasing safety at the intersection of South Main Street and U.S. Highway 74, near the old J.R. Faison Junior High School. Town manager Alex Sewell said that he, James, town fire Chief Marc Sessions and police Chief Thedis Spencer all agreed that the left-hand turn from Main onto U.S. Highway 74 is dangerous and sees a higher number of accidents than intersections with traffic signals.
Mayor Bill Thacker said that there were accidents at the intersection even when it used to have a stoplight.
Sewell said that the Department of Transportation declined to put a traffic light there again, but that it agreed to look into a solution.
“It may eliminate the ability of those on South Main to turn left onto 74,” Sewell said. “But it’s the staff’s opinion that it would be for the best.”
The council also returned to the subject of adding streetlights along U.S. Highway 74, something it has discussed for several months.
An estimate from Duke Energy Progress valid as of Jan. 1 showed that the town would have to pay a total of $958.99 in one-time charges, as well as monthly service charges to install the lights, bringing the price tag to about $6,300 per year, Sewell said.
The amount would cover 23 LED streetlights that would begin at the intersection of U.S. Highway 74 and U.S. Highway 52 and continue down U.S. Highway 74 to Walmart.
The council has previously talked about its hopes to eventually brighten up both the western and eastern sides of towns with additional streetlights — as the budget allows — to boost safety.
The paperwork with details on the estimates was given to the council members, but Thacker asked that the council wait until a later date to discuss it in more detail, as the lights would be paid for in the 2017-18 fiscal-year budget, which will be planned in more detail in the next few meetings.
The council will hold its annual retreat at 10 a.m. Feb. 18 in the conference room at Carolinas HealthCare System-Anson. Its next regular monthly meeting will be held at 5 p.m. March 6.
Reach reporter Imari Scarbrough at 704-994-5471 and follow her on Twitter @ImariScarbrough.