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Halifax supervisors back effort to save Clarkton Bridge

SoVaNow.com / November 09, 2017


In an attempt to save the historic Clarkton Bridge, members of The We People, a local non-profit group, asked Halifax County supervisors Monday to support their quest to prevent the bridge’s demolition.

Jack Dunavant, president of the group, explained that others in the group, along with members of the Clarkton Bridge Alliance, disagree strongly with the assessment made of the bridge’s condition by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

He said VDOT has estimated the likely cost to rehabilitate the old bridge for pedestrian and light vehicular traffic in excess of $10 million.

Dunavant pointed out that the 115-year-old camelback metal truss bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is one of only a few remaining such bridges in the state, if not the only one.

He said that his group along with members of the Clarkton Bridge Alliance (Ted Bennett and Tom Stutts) have concluded that the structural defects highlighted by VDOT are superficial and largely cosmetic, and can be repaired with the bridge renovated for pedestrian and light vehicular traffic at a cost significantly less than the $10 million estimated by VDOT needed to demolish the structure.

Dunavant said We The People is willing and able to take the title to the bridge from VDOT, repair it and rehabilitate it with some financial help from roads department.

Himself an engineer, Dunavant said he feels that the bridge can be renovated for far less than what VDOT says he will cost to demolish it.

He said VDOT has promised to consider his request within the next 30 to 60 days and he hopes to have their response by late December.

Dunavant noted that representatives of both Halifax and Charlotte counties, as well as the Halifax County Historical Society, concur with his findings.

Supervisors approved his request voting unanimously to support the position of We the People and its willingness to accept the title of Clarkton Bridge for the purposes of owning, repairing and rehabilitating it sufficient for pedestrian and light vehicular traffic. The County’s approval asked that VDOT enter into discussion and negotiations with We the People to achieve its purpose of saving the old bridge. However the Supervisors show of support added “in no fashion does this motion indicate any intent on the part of Halifax County to provide any financial or legal support for this effort or participate through any means in owning, insuring or securing the bridge.”

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