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Family's objection stalls bridge work

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VDOT needs to move power lines to replace the old Carico Bridge over the New River.

By Landmark News Service

Construction of a bridge over the New River to replace the Carico Memorial Bridge is continuing, but a problem has arisen over moving electrical lines.
Michelle Earl, public relations spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Transportation, said Monday that, since the bridge will cross the river, an environmental permit is required before Appalachian Power Co. can move the power lines.


She said the Dixon family, which owns property across the river where the power lines are located, had filed an objection.
Earl said that will require a public hearing before the Virginia Marine Resource Commission on Aug. 24 in Richmond.
VDOT actually owns the property where utility poles are located.
When contacted about the matter Monday, family member Susie Dixon Garner of Galax said she had no comment.
In the meantime, R.R. Dawson Bridge Co. of Lexington, Ky., has shifted its equipment to the Fries side of the river and will continue to construct the temporary bridge, which is about half completed.
A company spokesman said R.R. Dawson couldn’t continue building the bridge from the Galax side of the river because the power lines are in the way of its equipment.
The company received a $9.3 million contract to replace the old metal truss bridge, which has been closed since March 11.
VDOT estimated it would cost $2.2 million to repair the old bridge, constructed in 1927.
The bridge closed after a VDOT inspector noticed damage to crossbeams, apparently the result of a too-tall vehicle driving across the bridge. It will be torn down after the new bridge is opened.
Since the bridge is no longer safe to cross, it was closed to traffic and motorists must use Virginia routes 94 and 274. Local traffic from Fries to Galax can use Virginia routes 606 and 721 across the low-water bridge to Glendale Road.
The Carico bridge carried an estimated 1,900 vehicles per day when it was closed.