Commissioners narrowly approve Wil-Cox bridge repairs
By David Bodenheimer
Published: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 at 11:55 p.m.
The Davidson County Board of Commissioners opted to move forward with
cosmetic repairs to the Wil-Cox Bridge, set to be done by Flatiron-Lane
Construction, the same contractor heading up work on the new Interstate 85
bridge project over the Yadkin River.
The board heard an update on repair costs Tuesday night from N.C. Department
of Transportation Division 9 Engineer Pat Ivey. It was the first such update
from the DOT to the board since May, after the department said it would work
on getting an estimate to commissioners.
On a narrow 4-3 vote, commissioners approved Flatiron-Lane’s quote of just
over $1.1 million to do necessary cosmetic repairs to the bridge, which
primarily includes sealing cracks that were not deemed structural issues by
Commissioners Larry Potts, Sam Watford and Don Truell
all voted against spending the money. Board Chair Dr. Max Walser gave
the decisive “yes” vote alongside commissioners Fred McClure, Billy Joe
Kepley and Cathy Dunn.
In March, commissioners voted to accept ownership of the bridge from the
DOT, which would have knocked it down as part of the I-85 project had
commissioners not accepted ownership. Since then, DOT closed the bridge to
traffic in April after finding several structural deficiencies.
Part of the agreement between the county and DOT was that the transportation
department would pay for repair costs to bring the bridge back up to code.
Shortly after the county accepted the agreement in March, the bridge was
closed in April to traffic. The DOT also pledged $2.5 million to the county
in repair costs that would also give the county the opportunity for cosmetic
Ivey said the DOT is expected to spend about $3 million in structural
repairs but told commissioners, in his opinion, the price from Flatiron-Lane
to do cosmetic repairs is a good one.
“This is an excellent deal for the county,” Ivey said. “The reason it is a
low as it is, is because that contractor will be out there already. If you
all had this project yourself, it would be significantly higher. Plus it
would be a different contractor who would not be familiar with the project.
Our original cost estimate for this work was closer to $2 million.”
Ivey also pointed out that the longer the cosmetic repairs went unaddressed,
the more money those repairs would potentially cost.
Commissioners debated at length, asking Ivey a series of questions and
expressing concern on whether postponing cosmetic repairs would be a better
option for the county.
“I think we should save the money,” said Watford. “We don’t have to
But concerns over future prices and different contractors prompted the board
to move forward.
“I think the time to do it is to do it all at one time,” Kepley said. “When
you start something, do it completely, then you can forget about it and go
on to other projects. I would encourage everyone to support it. I think it
should all be done at one time.”
In other news, the board:
• Approved economic incentives for Project Lynx and scheduled a public
hearing on the matter for Sept. 28. Under the proposal, the county will
enter a lease agreement with the City of Lexington and will have one-half
interest of the property, slated to be located in the Lexington Business
Center. The agreement is for 12 years in the amount of $72,916 each year as
the county’s share of the rent. Project Lynx proposes to invest $20 million
in new plant, machinery and equipment and create 42 jobs over three years.
The Lexington City Council unanimously approved the economic incentives
agreement at its meeting Monday night.
Steve Googe, executive director of the Davidson County Economic Development
Commission, said talks with Project Lynx have been ongoing for more than six
years. While Googe didn’t offer further details about the company he said he
plans to meet with Project Lynx officials later this week, during which he
will present the incentives in hopes of finalizing the company’s move to
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