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Bridge Is On Track for New Future
Groups Meet To Discuss Preservation Issues

The long battle to save historic Clarkton Bridge and convert it to a pivotal piece in two counties' parks and tourism efforts appears to be on track.

The bridge spans the Staunton River and links Halifax and Charlotte counties.

APVA Preservation Virginia previously agreed to accept title to the bridge, but with conditions.

A new owner will ultimately take possession from the APVA.

On Wednesday, representatives from the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Clarkton Bridge Alliance, members of the Charlotte and Halifax County Boards of Supervisors and Russell Slayton, county attorney, met in Farmville to discuss preservation issues.

"We discussed where we are and what will be the next steps for the conservation effort," VDOT Resident Engineer Joe Barkley II said yesterday.

Since both Halifax and Charlotte supervisors previously passed resolutions of their intent to discontinue a short section of Route 620 that includes the bridge, Barkley said his office is taking public comment.

The discontinuance phase for public involvement extends through March 31.

However, Route 620 in Charlotte County will remain open to provide access to the boat landing on the Staunton River at Clarkton Bridge, a Clarkton Bridge Alliance spokesman said yesterday.

The VDOT resident engineer said that he would make a report to supervisors in Charlotte and Halifax counties during their April meeting regarding the road issue.

To date, Barkley said that he has received only one comment, and that one favored discontinuance.

"So, I think we are making progress, and Ms. (P.K.) Pettus will contact Secretary of Transportation Clement informing him of the status," added Barkley.

Pettus, a Keysville resident, has been a driving force in organizing the Clarkton Bridge Alliance to save the bridge.

"The Clarkton Bridge Alliance is delighted the board of directors of APVA Preservation Virginia has agreed to take ownership of the bridge if certain conditions can be met," Pettus said Thursday.

"We are working, the Clarkton Bridge Alliance and VDOT, in cooperation with both counties to meet these conditions.

"There is still much work to be done, but we are making steady progress," added Pettus.

"We will continue to move forward with a few little unanswered questions, and then the Boards will deliberate after the public involvement phase (on Route 620)," said the VDOT resident engineer.

Clarkton Bridge has recently been nominated as a stop for the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail.

Clean-Up -- Local Clarkton Bridge Preservation advocates recently organized a clean-up crew to pick up trash and debris in order to assist VDOT and adjacent property owners. The Clarkton Bridge Alliance welcomes local volunteers interested in saving the historic truss bridge to pitch in with the continuing clean-up effort.