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DOT admits Pilot Mountain bridge project mistakes

PILOT MOUNTAIN, N.C. — Officials with the Department of Transportation admitted to residents Thursday night they did not communicate well when it came to planning the replacement of the Highway 268 bridge.

The project, already underway, came without warning to many residents and business owners. Business owners say the removal and confusing detours has cut the number of Highway 52 travel customers nearly in half.

“People in general do not want to take a detour,” said Debbie Butner of Cousin Gary’s Restaurant. Butner says she’s seen a 40 percent to 45 percent drop in weekday customers. “You know we are all hurting. Right now I feel bad for everybody as well as myself.”

Transportation officials closed the bridge just before July 4, keeping the holiday customers and many of the anticipated summer travelers from stopping in town.

In addition to apologizing, the contractor told residents an additional crew will now be assigned to the project to help finish by December. The original plans called for the project to be completed by the summer of 2015.

“A year was impossible… it just really was,” said Donald Mueller with Mountain View Restaurant. He’s losing about 300 customers weekly due to the project and it is forcing him to cut back his lunch menu.

“Our lunch hour, we had to close our buffet because we were wasting too much food,” he said. “But that’s a temporary solution to this problem and with a six month outlook I think we can survive this and come out stronger in the end.”

The bridge, built in 1960, was considered functionally obsolete and structurally deficient, which mean that although the bridge is safe, it was built to design standards no longer in use and requires costly maintenance to remain functional.

Transportation officials say they will look at improving the detour signs. Residents are pushing for locals to shop locally as a way of helping the local business survive over the next six months.

 

12 comments

  • Bo Diddley

    Nobody outside of this remnant from Mayberry cares about this. Most people pass this withering little town on their way to somewhere more vibrant. I say keep the bridge down and make it harder for the meth heads and illegal immigrants that are the majority of Pilot Mountains population to get around.

    • Hard Working Mom

      Excuse me BO DIDDLEY u dont know shit about Pilot Mtn. There are a lot of good people living in that town which u obviously dont know shit about. So if u dont want to be bad mouthed keep ur negative coments about a community u know nothing about to yourself!

    • Concerned citizen

      I grew up in Pilot Mountain. Have moved to Mayberry and King. Ended right back at home where we love it. Nobody asked for smart comments from outsiders. You wouldn’t understand unless you live here and deal with it everyday. Let’s tear out a bridge between your home, work, and child’s school and add an extra 20 mins to your commute every morning and afternoon. We will see what smart comments you give then and how you feel about your community.

  • WIZZY

    PEOPLE NEED TO BE SAFE GOING ACROSS A BRIDGE N MAKES ME SAD PEOPLE LOOSING MONEY IS MORE IMPORTANT TO SOME OF THESE PEOPLE.LET THE TOWN GROW N IMPROVEMENTS MADE TO IT N STOP CRYING BECOUSE U HAVE TO STOP YA BUFEET ARE U NOTICE A DECREASE N CUSTOMERS.

    • Concerned citizen

      According to the article. The bridge was safe just built to standards that are now too expensive for them to maintain. Why don’t you read the whole article before yelling your two cents to everyone. Pilot Mountain depends on businesses and citizens to function. The whole town not just parts of it. If all the businesses go under and shut down then people start moving away, we lose our public works, we lose our law enforcement, and other public resources. The businesses have to survive in order for the town to survive. But I guess some people will just never understand how a township works. DOT giving a weeks notice and tearing out a fully functional bridge without the resources to replace it was not there best move regardless what town it happened in.

  • Rhonda Smith

    Yeah bo where are you from Pilot mountain is not that at all. I moved here from Georgia and its awesome.you must not live here….try Georgia for crime

  • Jack

    You know what actually kills me though…. They said from the start that there was nothing structurally wrong with the bridge it was just out dated and all bridges are to be replaced in a certain time frame. Then why not fix one that has structural problems like the one on westfield road and old us 52 that they have had held up with braces for years. You know if they fixed all the ones that do have problems then came back to this one then it might have made sense. I think some of the folks making those big salaries need to learn how to screw in a light bulb before they get the job. I had a guy one time ask me if food lion had milk on sale 2 gallons for the price of 1 and I only needed a gallon if I would get both. Can you guess what my answer was. I told him he was a very well educated idiot.

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