Long Ferry Road resident encourages support of I-85 bridge

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Steve Huffman
Salisbury Post
SPENCER ó A man with ties to land in and around the proposed High Rock Raceway encouraged local leaders Tuesday to continue backing a new Interstate 85 bridge at the Yadkin River.
“The bridge has got to go through,” said Jack Fisher, a resident of Long Ferry Road who said he represents members of the Lamb family who own about 200 acres of land near the river.
Fisher addressed members of the Spencer Board of Aldermen during their monthly meeting.
He referred to a story in the Post where the raceway land has been designated an endangered Civil War battlefield site. That designation was made by the Civil War Preservation Trust, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C.
Fisher said he worried that designation might further delay construction of a new bridge that should have been built years ago.
“None of it is that bridge,” Fisher said, referring to anything historic about the area.
“We’re very upset about it,” he said of further delays.
Fisher said he saw plans for the bridge three years ago and said that at the time the intention was for it to be the second-largest such structure in the state. He referred to it as “a monster of a bridge.”
Fisher said construction of a racetrack at the site would benefit northern Rowan County and Spencer greatly.
“If that thing takes hold, the town is going to reap a lot of benefits,” Fisher said. “Lord knows, get some jobs, get something going out here.”
Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Morris agreed there’s nothing about the current bridges over the Yadkin River that is related to the Civil War.
There are three bridges at the site ó two for U.S. 29 and another for interstate motorists.
Morris said the covered bridge that stood near the site at the time of the Civil War was constructed about 1814. It was taken down, he said, in 1922.
The pillars for that former bridge are still visible upstream from the site of the current bridges.
Morris said that when there was talk in 2005 of rebuilding that covered bridge, the cost was estimated at $6 million to $8 million.
“I applaud your efforts to expand the commercial base,” Morris told Fisher.
Alderman Scott Benfield told Fisher that the town has little say concerning construction of an interstate bridge outside of town.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have much control over that bridge,” Benfield said.
He and other board members noted that last December they passed a resolution stating that the town supports the “fast-track widening and development” of lands north of Spencer according to their best uses.Specifically, the resolution backed the widening of the interstate to eight lanes from N.C. 150 in Davidson County to Long Ferry Road outside Spencer.
It further called for construction of a newer, safer bridge over the Yadkin River and rejected efforts of the Trading Ford Historic District Preservation Association except for land owned by group members.
Ann Brownlee, creator of the association, is the person who submitted an application to the Civil War Preservation Trust through which it was designated an endangered battlefield.
Contact Steve Huffman at 704-797-4222 or shuffman@salisburypost.com.