May 04. 2007
Board to seek federal funding for I-85 bridge
BY GLEN BAITY
The Davidson County Board of Commissioners on Thursday passed a resolution
seeking federal funds to upfit one of the county's busiest corridors.
The resolution, which specifically calls for lane additions and the
replacement of two bridges on Interstate 85 between Exits 81 and 86, was
passed unanimously at the commissioners' monthly information meeting.
Commissioner Max Walser will carry the resolution with him when he meets
with Congressmen Howard Coble and Mel Watt next week to convey the board's
opinion on the pending Alcoa relicensure.
Commissioner Sam Watford, who recently discussed the Yadkin River
Bridge with Rowan County Commissioners' Chairman Arnold Chamberlain, asked
Walser to raise the bridge issue with legislators during his trip.
To reinforce the county's stance, Rowan is set to pass an identical
resolution prior to Walser's trip.
"The interstate is a federal highway anyway," Watford said in an
interview this morning. "We figured we could start at the top."
The North Carolina Department of Transportation defunded the project in
2005. DOT cited the high cost of the project and a lack of funds to
complete it and other projects.
An estimated 60,000 vehicles cross the Yadkin River Bridge into and out of
Davidson County each day. In a report released earlier this year, AAA
Carolinas ranked the 52-year-old bridge as the 17th-most substandard in
North Carolina. The same report classified the bridge as being
The DOT evaluates bridges on a 100-point scale, assigning sufficiency
ratings reflecting a number of criteria including width, age and
structural integrity. The northbound bridge has a rating of 39.2 while the
southbound bridge rates a 40.5.
The eight-paragraph resolution points out that bridges with a rating under
50 can qualify for federal replacement funds.
By passing the resolution, the county hopes to qualify for those funds.
The document further cites the number of accidents that occur along the
stretch of road as well as the route's presence in a county economic
Watford said he hoped Senators Richard Burr and Elizabeth Dole, both
natives of the Triad, would be swayed by the joint resolution from the two
"If the political process actually works, this is a chance to see,"
Glen Baity can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 227, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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