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Ask Matt ... about the bridges of Henderson County

Q. When will they finish replacing the bridge on Little River Road?

Soon. According to NCDOT Engineer David Leeds, the project is slightly behind. The original completion date was Oct. 1 but extra utility work and other factors delayed that. "We're shooting for the third week of October but there's no guarantee of that," Leeds said. "They're moving along." The double bridge replacement is a $1.3 million job that also includes guardrails, repaving the approaches, erosion prevention and tree planting and involves several subcontractors.

Q. I read that a Chris Carter was in Georgetown, S.C., dealing with a big downtown fire. Is that the same person that once worked here?

Correct. Chris Carter retired in 2007 after 14 years as Hendersonville's city manager. That kind of work must stay in your blood because last February he took the job as city administrator of Georgetown, (pop. 9,000), a seaport city between Myrtle Beach and Charleston. On September 25th, an early morning fire destroyed seven historic buildings along the downtown waterfront. More than 100 firefighters fought the blaze and the Coast Guard even dispatched a fireboat.
When I spoke to Chris about the fire he said, "In my 22 years in this business, I have dealt with many tough situations including hurricanes and ice storms, but this fire tops them all." Chris shared that the Georgetown community has been very responsive, as has Governor Haley's office. "The fire cost 38 people their jobs and many downtown residents lost everything," he said. "It kind of leaves a scar on your heart."

Q. What is that huge green machine parked by the U.S. 64 bridge over I-26?

During the nighttime, workers sandblast the underside of the bridge to remove old paint and rust from the steel girders. That "green machine" uses a vacuum hose to suck back the blast debris then it separates out the old lead-based paint particles for proper disposal. The machine also recycles the steel pellets that are used to blast the bridge supports. Over time, moisture and road salt can cause severe rusting and crews must remove old paint and repaint the girders. In Highway Division 14, 10 bridges (six in Henderson County) will be repaired and repainted at a cost of $1.8 million.

Q. They had those new lights working at Howard Gap Road and Tracy Grove Road but then they turned them off. Why?

According to NCDOT Traffic Engineer Scott Cook, the intersection will employ an "actuated flasher system" that will trigger the overhead caution lights when a vehicle enters the intersection from any direction. The project is not yet finished and the lights were probably switched off when the contractor was waiting for the power company to make final connections.

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