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As decision on Yadkin River Bridge looms, status of Wil-Cox Bridge uncertain

Piggybacking on my earlier post on the Yadkin River Bridge, there is also information about the oldest standing of the Yadkin River Crossings.

The future ownership of the Wil-Cox Bridge, built in 1922, will be determined by the pending decision on TIGER Grant funds to replace the newer I-85 Yadkin River Bridge.

NCDOT has offered to sell the bridge to Davidson County for a sum of $2.5 million.  Davidson County would then convert the historic concrete arch bridge for use by pedestrians only.  After the bridge is converted for pedestrian use - any of the 2.5 million not spent will be returned to Davidson County for maintenance on the bridge.

However, there are concerns on how much the conversion will cost and how much Davidson County would annual spend on maintenance.  NCDOT has given a deadline of March 1st on their offer.  That was contingent on NCDOT being awarded the TIGER funds.  Funds that may not be awarded until February 17th.  Of course, if NCDOT doesn't receive any grant money, it is unclear when any construction of a new I-85 bridge would take place.

Story Link:
Commissioners mull Wil-Cox bridge decision ---The Dispatch

Commentary:

Personally, I would love to see this bridge kept standing, and preserved for pedestrian use.  The bridge is one of only a few open-spandrel concrete arch bridges standing in North Carolina.  In addition, why not make it part of the nearby North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer.  There are a lot of possibilities that could take place.

Fortunately, the new I-85 bridges would be built further downstream from the Wil-Cox bridge and that may help in building a linear park highlighting the crossing's history as part of a Native American trading path.

The issue is obviously whether or not NCDOT receives any grant money from the Feds.  If the state doesn't receive the maximum amount of $300 million that can be awarded, it will be interesting to see how the state finds the additional money for the I-85 Yadkin River Bridge replacement project.  Once that is decided, hopefully the State and Davidson County can come to an agreement to preserve this historic bridge.

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