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Bridge woes irk Field Lark Lane residents

A low-lying bridge on Field Lark Lane is getting attentionfollowing years of a frequent flooding during periods of rain.

“We’re tired of the problem,” said Virginia Smith Tuesday afterrecent rainy weather.

Smith and her husband, Mike, live north of the bridge at 1360Field Lark Lane. The bridge and the Smiths’ home are a shortdistance outside the city limits.

When going south, Smith said she has to go about 2.5 milesaround another way to avoid the bridge when it floods. Smith alsoexpressed concerns about possible delays in emergency responsebecause an ambulance, coming from the south, may be unaware of theneed to go around the flooded bridge.

While talking about the problem Tuesday afternoon, Smith noticeda few vehicles traveling the road. A few made it through theflooded area while others did not try and turned around to goanother route.

“We’ve seen several vehicles sitting down there stranded,” Smithsaid.

Dr. C.G. Wesse has a home office on Field Lark Lane near theSmiths. Smith and Coleman Lea, who lives south of the floodedbridge, said the doctor’s wife waited to meet an out-of-townpatient below the bridge Tuesday morning.

“That’s the kind of thing we deal with here, and nothing’s everdone about it,” Smith said.

Smith said she sees work being done in other districts. Shecalled District 5 Supervisor Gary Walker, but he had not acted onthe bridge problem.

“The only thing they ever do is patch potholes, and they don’tdo a very good job of that,” Smith said.

Walker said Tuesday that he has contacted County Engineer CarlRay Furr regarding the possibility of federal funding assistance toaddress the bridge problem.

“He’s going to look at it this week and see if money is there toput in a taller bridge,” Walker said.

Walker said the bridge is on a low road and crosses a creek thatcollects runoff water from behind the health department, countryclub and other areas. The supervisor said he has worked on theroad’s ditches and will try to widen the road if right of way andfunding availability permits.

“I’m going to do what I can with the money that’s available,”said Walker, adding that he had put barricades up in the past onlyto have them tossed onto the side of the road later.

Walker said he had no control over the weather. He described thesection of Field Lark Lane as a “typical small county road” and onethat was not alone in the area of flooding problems.

“I’ve got other roads like that that flood every time it rains,”Walker said. “They were like that when I came into office.”

Walker and Field Lark Lane residents were unable to say how longthe bridge flooding had been a problem.

Lea said he had lived in the area 40 years and indicated thebridge frequently flooded. He said he did not fault any onesupervisor and believes the bridge could be raised and improved ifthe county could find a way.

Lea’s land is among several areas that floods when the creekrises. He acknowledged the situation was aggravating, but he wassympathetic to his neighbors to the north.

“I’m sure it doesn’t cause me as much problems as it does them,”Lea said.

Also, being one of the last houses before the bridge, Lea’sdriveway is frequently used by people turning around when thebridge is flooded.

“They have to do a lot of detouring,” Lea said.