A large portion of the retaining wall on the north side of Louisa Street/State Highway 81 that has been damaged for some time is slated for repair starting in 2015.
A portion of the wall, which was originally built in 1984 by the state’s Department of Transportation (DOT), first fell in late February of 2012, approximately one year ago, although the wall had been deteriorating for years prior.
The retaining wall is crumbling and parts of it have started to completely fall apart, making use of the sidewalk impossible. In fact that section of the sidewalk has been barricaded off with caution tape and barriers to prevent anyone from attempting to use it and end up potentially injuring themselves.
According to Mayor Breunig, it is the belief of the Darlington city council that the responsibility of repairing the wall falls to the DOT, as it was the DOT that built the wall in the first place.
The city of Darlington has been in contact with the DOT regarding the declining condition of the retaining wall for approximately three or four years.
At a Darlington City Council meeting in late December of 2012, a citizen brought up concerns regarding the damaged wall and asked if anything was being done to begin repairs. Mayor Breunig also said that many people have been asking about the wall for quite some time.
The council informed the citizen in December that the DOT was responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the wall and that the city had requested repairs, but the task was put on a waiting list, with a tentative start date of 2015.
The city of Darlington did not want to take any responsibility for repairing the wall and that is why the city left the matter of repairing the wall up to the DOT.
The DOT southwest region has contracted with Knight Engineers & Architects, Inc. to prepare plans and contract documents to address the repairs of the retaining wall.
Joel Goodenough, project engineer at Knight Engineers & Architects, Inc., recently contacted Mayor Breunig to update the city on the status of the repair project. According to Goodenough, the design of the project is scheduled to be completed in 2014, while actual construction will take place in 2015.
Goodenough stated in a letter that no repair work will occur in the roadway, but will take place from the existing curb and gutter outward on the north side of the roadway only. Along with the repairs, the pedestrian facilities will be brought up to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards as well.
During construction, the roadway will remain open, but will utilize single lane closures with a shifting of traffic.
It is anticipated that right of way purchase will be required to complete the repair work, which will take place within a 0.40 mile stretch of the area.
Sometime in the spring of 2013 a public information meeting will be held to familiarize interested citizens with the project, said Goodenough. Knight Engineers & Architects, Inc. will also be making efforts to contact residents that live within the project limits to discuss specifics of the project in greater detail.