Local News

Residents, Firefighters Worry Over Proposed Bridge Detour

Posted August 13, 2007
Updated August 14, 2007

— Some commuters are bracing for what they expect to be a two-year traffic nightmare – a 12-mile detour around a failing bridge in north Raleigh.

Emergency workers say the detour is more than an inconvenience. They are worried because, they say, it will stretch their response times.

No one knows for sure how old the bridge is that carries Falls of Neuse Road over the waterway, but state officials say it is old enough to need to be replaced.

The discussion came almost two weeks after the collapse of an interstate highway bridge in Minnesota that was being repaired.

Larry Schlenz travels over the Neuse bridge twice a day. He and other citizens came to a workshop Monday evening to find out about the state Department of Transportation's plans for replacing the bridge.

"It's requiring maintenance and when it starts to require work then we look at trying to replace it," said Tracy Walter of the NCDOT.

The new bridge will be 8 feet wider than the current span. It's expected to take up to two years to demolish the old bridge and build a new one, beginning in 2010.

That’s the time when 20,000 motorists will be forced to take the detour, and so will trucks answering alarms to the Falls Volunteer Fire Department.

"There really is no alternative, the way I look at it," Chief Chris Wilson said. “Even if there is another fire department on the north side of the bridge, it's still not going to equate to what we have now."

The project will mean longer response times, Wilson said.

NCDOT considered building a new bridge before knocking down the old one, but decided that was not the best course. The agency said, however, it would look into the fire department's concern.

Janet Steddum says the project will also destroy a piece of history.

"I hate to see history knocked down,” said Steddum, who wrote a book about the battle for Falls Lake.


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  • joco cruiser Aug 15, 2007

    Hahaha, WRAL post's half truths but when the truth is posted they delete it.

  • J.Dillard Aug 15, 2007

    If you are in the fire service then you should really study up on your comments before you post them. I've seen your kind plenty of times, hiding behind a nickname and you probably have a closet full of fire department tee shirts too. Tell me "jritz83" Whats wrong with fighting to keep your community safe? That is why we are here right? Since you live it everyday you already know as an emergency worker that time is never on your side. You already know how a fire doubles every 30 seconds and how brain cells begin to die within 4 to 6 minutes following cardiac arrest.

  • justbnme Aug 15, 2007

    Think About This - This is the last thing that I'm
    going to say about this: It's not 'second hand',
    I live it everyday, maybe I'm in the fire dept.,
    ever 'think about that' ?

    Firedog201: I'm sure they would pull my tail out
    of a burning building, IF THEY COULD FIND THE

  • SHELLYGIRL Aug 15, 2007

    Why did they wait so late to start discussing and planning this project? School starts in two weeks and they either need to delay this project until next summer of offer up some serious detours within that area. I travel that road daily and there is only one way to get to the schools when you live near the bridge and frankly how else are we going to get around it? Capital blvd is about to become a nightmare to drive on daily because that is the only way into Wakefield now. How smart was that to wait until school starts to begin this project. Who are our city officials and leaders again???? How much thought was put into this?

  • peacebee Aug 14, 2007

    Lot of angry people who hate each other on this posting...

  • Think_About_This Aug 14, 2007

    jritz83 - You're right, it doesn't matter the name of the department, but don't let a few firemen who goof off distort your opinion of an entire fire department. Falls Fire Dept. has served its district capably and with honor for many years.

    Again, if you're not willing to volunteer yourself and you've never been part of a fire department (paid or volunteer), your opinion is from second hand information.

  • Think_About_This Aug 14, 2007

    Raleigh Fire Dept - Station 25 to be exact

  • Think_About_This Aug 14, 2007

    Gatsby - That would be the Raleigh Fire Dept. - check the sign the next time you go by. And you're right - they are top notch.

  • Gatsby Aug 14, 2007

    BTW.. at least get your facts straight.. there is no Wakefield Fire Department..

    So what is that behind the Foodlion in Wakefield?? Those guys ride in a big red truck & put out fires (Remember the apt. fire last year)...Wakefield sports one of the best fire units in Raleigh...Those guys are real Pro's and top notch firemen and they do not have to cross any bridge to get to Wakefield...they sleep there every night.

  • ncwebguy Aug 14, 2007

    If the money NCDOT is willing to spend to demo/rebuild the existing bridge was combined with Raleigh's money, there would be enough to build it and do road realignment. The road is mostly done north of the Neuse River already.

    Some of the other projects from that bond, like widening Lake Wheeler, have yet to be started. If the mix of gas, registration, impact, and property taxes were where they should be, especially for Wakefield, the New Falls of Neuse bridge would be open by now. But the rich want their cake (this bridge, schools) and not be taxed for it.