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Halifax accepts process for taking down Clarkton Bridge / March 15, 2018
The Town of Halifax has agreed to sign a Memorandum of Agreement paving the way for the historic but failing Clarkton Bridge to be dismantled.

Halifax Town Council on Tuesday night authorized Town Manager Carl Espy to sign the MOA with the Norfolk District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Virginia State Historic Preservation Officer and the Virginia Department of Transportation to specify the terms of removal for Clarkton Bridge. Since the bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, any work to take it down must be conducted in compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.

Tony Opperman, preservation program manager for VDOT, appeared with local Resident Highway Engineer Kenneth Martin at Tuesday's council meeting. Explaining that the MOA has been approved by both the governing bodies of both Charlotte and Halifax counties, Opperman laughed as he told council members, “This may just look like 60 pages of useless information, but it is something we must have before the bridge can be removed.”

Plans call for the bridge to be dismantled over the next several months.

The bridge, built just after the turn of the 20th Century, served for generations as a key link over the Staunton River, connecting Halifax and Charlotte counties via Route 620. The iron span was closed to vehicular traffic in 1998 and then closed to non-vehicular users beginning in 2005. It was closed for foot traffic in 2016 due to its dangerous condition. The bridge is composed of two trusses that measure 150 feet lengthwise and 15 feet wide.

Once removal of the bridge is completed, stakeholders are expected to meet again, probably in June, to decide what they want to do with the trusses, which VDOT hopes to preserve for display or potential adaptive reuse.

In other business Tuesday night, Council member Janice Powell volunteered to serve on the Town’s Planning Commission. She will fill the position which councilman Bill Covington held for the past several years. Covington’s term expired in January, but he remained in place until another council member volunteered to fill the seat.

Council members also heard plans from Events Coordinator Olivia Epps for the Town’s 10th annual Earth Day Extravaganza Saturday, April 21. They also heard more about the upcoming fifth annual Spring Bazaar and Halicraft Festival which is set for Saturday, April 7.

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Jack Dunavant should bear the entire cost to remove the bridge and all liability associated with it. He's the person who leads these poor souls into these boondoggles. Come on Jack, step up an open your billfold for a change.


I find Tony Opperman's comments most disrespectful and callous toward a national landmark such as the Clarkton Bridge. He appeared annoyed at having to follow protocols than just being able to demolish something. How typical of VDOT - they have no regard for history, preservation, and maintenance. If VDOT wants to spend money, they find a way. Being that it's Halifax County and not Northern Virginia, they are not going to do except what is the least they can do.

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