MT. AIRY – Mt. Airy Police Chief/Manager Tim Jarrell is asking the town council to meet in early 2021 to discuss whether to accept ownership of a wooden bridge over the railroad.
“Mayor Pro Tem Mike McCoy and I met with State Rep. Chris Erwin and Mr. Brad Pope with Norfolk Southern Railroad on the 11th of November and we discussed the issues concerning the Seventh Street bridge, in particular the structural integrity of the bridge,” Jarrell said.
The bridge, located behind the town maintenance shop, connects Dicks Hill Parkway with Keller Road and Wilson Road, but is within sight of the Sixth Street underpass that connects Keller Road to Dicks Hill Parkway.
The surface of the wooden bridge on Seventh Street is in bad shape, with flooring visible through surface potholes and a steel plate bolted in place in one spot.
Additionally, the bridge has a weight restriction of five tons.
“Basically, the railroad has told us the bridge doesn’t really meet any specific needs for them,” Jarrell said. “However, they have made mention that they’d be willing to bring the bridge up to standards and then the town take it over from there out.”
Town officials will have to decide whether to accept responsibility for maintenance and liability of the structure from the railroad if the railroad brings it up to standards.
“It will require some discussion and we need to look into it more thoroughly, so in the Jan. 4 meeting we will set up a planning session to do that,” Mayor Gary Morris said.