Alderman Paul Proposes Study Of Widening Banks Channel Bridge For Fishermen
Resolution Is In Response To Community Concerns


   After much contention surrounding the ban of fishing on the Causeway Drive Bridge, the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen will now consider requesting a study be conducted by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to examine the feasibility of a additional platform or bridge attached to the vehicular bridge.
   A resolution in support of a feasibility study, funded by NCDOT, was proposed by Alderman Ed Paul. Paul also proposed banning fishing on the Causeway Drive Bridge, which was granted by the board of aldermen at its Feb. 12 meeting. Paul had commented publicly on several occasions that his wife is a frequent Loop walker. Paul said, the ban was passed due to public safety concerns by the aldermen. 
   Paul said the idea of a pedestrian platform was originally proposed by Mayor Pro Tem Barry Mowbray several years ago, when the feasibility of a step-down platform for fishermen was examined with the assistance of Lanny Wilson, southeastern North Carolina’s representative on the DOT board of directors.
   “The board has had informal discussions with Lanny for six or eight months, but it’s always been on the back burner,” Paul said. 
   If the resolution is passed, Paul said the next step would be to have the study conducted, with engineers designing a platform that could be used by fishermen.
   Paul said early unofficial estimates for the platform are $120 per linear foot. “Once the study is done, we will get an official estimate on the cost,” he said. “We will then go to DOT for help with funding and apply for federal and state grants.” Paul said he did not propose the town pay for the bridge.
   If the resolution is approved, the project would immediately move forward, Paul said. “In a perfect world, I would love to have the platform ready by the beginning of the bridge fishing season of 2004, which starts October 1,” he said.
   Paul said the recently approved ordinance that banned fishing from the Causeway Drive Bridge would have to be reworked to allow fishing from the platform.
   He added that the city of Wilmington is in similar talks with the NCDOT to place a similar platform on a bridge across Bradley Creek.
   Paul said the resolution is in response to concerns voiced in the community about banning fishing on the bridge. “Our effort to push this to the front burner is a direct response to the community,” he said.

By Crystal Allen
Staff Writer
Lumina News 

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