State Parks officials are awaiting final permits and permission from several environmental agencies before work begins in earnest on the bridge at the Lake Waccamaw dam.
State Parks spokesman Charlie Peek said the agency recently received the approval of the State Office of Construction, and now can move ahead seeking permission from other regulatory agencies.
The bridge will be constructed forward of the dam, on the lake side, and create a loop trail through the state park and the town. The bridge has been prioritized by several private groups and the park staff through the years on several wish lists of proposed projects that could improve access to the lake and the park.
The pedestrian bridge will be wide enough for off-road emergency vehicles, but it is not designed for motorized traffic, Peek said.
“Although the bridge is for pedestrians,” Peek said in an email, we did design a widened area to give anglers space separate from pedestrians. This will be included as an alternate bid and will be included in the project if bids come in within available budget.”
The project has a maximum budget of $300,000, with the funding secured through the Department of Transportation. District Engineer Drew Cox said such projects are becoming more common in the DOT.
“It used to be just highways,” he said, “but more and more, we’re seeing the need for alternative transportation, bicycle trails and similar projects. There are things that really only the DOT has the engineering and construction expertise to complete.”
The bridge project, while funded by DOT, is a parks department project, Peek said. A construction date has not been set, and bids have not been advertised for the project.
“We’re waiting on our natural resource staff to secure the final approvals and permits from the various environmental agencies before advertising for bids,” he said.
The project is funded and administered entirely through the state, although Town Manager Harry Foley said many people are supportive of the bridge.
“Anything that can improve our town and improve access to the state park benefits everyone,” he said.