Many comments about why the Low Water Bridge should be demolished are simply myths,
un-truths and conjecture..... and need to be 'de-bunked' using factual explanations!
Expose the falseness or hollowness of (a myth, idea, or belief).
"The Committee 'debunks' reasons to demolish the Low Water Bridge"
Synonyms: explode, deflate, quash, discredit, disprove, contradict, controvert, invalidate, negate;
The 10 following reasons are given by those who want to see the Low Water Bridge demolished:
Myth #1. "The Low Water Bridge is dangerous to cross."
FACT: The single-lane Low Water Bridge is 14 feet wide, 135 feet long and takes only 15 seconds to cross. The average vehicle is 5 to 6 feet wide, leaving a 4 foot space on each side. If it were a hazard, it would have been closed decades ago. Pay attention to your driving and avoid the bridge when it is flooded and you will be fine.
Myth #2. "There are no guardrails on the bridge."
FACT: "Guardrails would cause debris to build-up during flooding and put additional stress on the bridge. It was designed to have a low profile so debris would pass-over.
Myth #3. "Debris 'clogs' the bridge and causes more flooding."
FACT: According to a well-qualified highway engineer, a tree or two hanging-up on the bridge, and debris trapped under the bridge, has no effect on flooding as the water flowing over the bridge "ignores' the bridge, and does not cause a back-up.
Myth #4. "The bridge is in "poor" condition and could collapse."
FACT: After 97 years of use, the Low Water Bridge remains in use without any weight restrictions, and handles heavy loads from large dump trucks, road equipment, fire trucks, etc. on a daily basis. There is some cosmetic wear and tear on the surface, but that is due to neglect. It was the approach aprons that suffered damage in the December 2015 flood, and that was due to a lack of steel reinforcement....now corrected. The bridge structure itself has suffered no structural damage at all since it was first built!
Myth #5. "People are calling City Hall asking "How many more must die before the Low Water Bridge is removed?"
FACT: The Low Water Bridge does not "kill" anyone. In it's 97 year history, the few who have tried crossing the bridge when it was flooding have been swept away and drowned. This was unfortunate, but not the fault of the bridge. A few others have driven off the bridge due to inattention, but the normal depth of the water at the bridge is only a foot or two, so drowning is very unlikely.
Don L. stated: "One of the 2 lives that were lost on the Low Water Bridge was my ex-wife's uncle. He had a massive Heart Attack as he crossed the bridge and drove off the bridge. It wasn't the bridge that caused his death."
Myth #6. "The clearing away of debris from the bridge costs the taxpayer's money."
FACT: Notice that this media-published comment failed to mention the damage to the Park itself.
The December 2015 flood was extreme, yet only one tree and one tree stump had to be removed from the bridge. The underside of the bridge was clear of any brush or debris, and there was no damage to the bridge structure itself, just the approach aprons which were already in poor condition! It took a City crew less than a couple of hours to remove those trees, cut them up and haul them away. However, it needs to be mentioned that it took over a week to correct flood damage to McIndoe Park which was severe, and required many man hours to repair the paved walkways, parking lots, posts & cables, reset dozens of downed trees, replace damaged & missing signs, dislodged picnic tables and fences. The bridge is part of the Park, yet is the least likely structure to suffer flood damage....and that is a Fact!
Myth #7: "We need a new bridge because eight-hundred (800) cars a day cross the old bridge causing delays, and pedestrians are crossing as well."
FACT: To date, no one seems to know who took this 'traffic count', when it was taken and over what period of time it was taken, which makes it very unscientific and unreliable. If the count was made on the 4th. of July over a 24 hour period, maybe.....but factoring a 20% drop in crossings during the Fall and Spring months, and a 40% drop during the Winter months, it is more likely that the annual daily average would be closer to 525 crossings per day.
Myth #8: "Replacing the old bridge with a higher, modern 2-lane bridge will not affect the Park."
FACT: Placing a new bridge over a removed Low Water Bridge will require a much longer structure, beginning up Jackson Street and ending South of Riverside Drive. This will affect property values for the homeowners on Jackson, and the re-alignments of the roads on both sides of the bridge. The scenic views from one side of the Park to the other will be eliminated. Multiple cars crossings will create more noise. Hikers and bikers will be at greater risk as vehicles will be traveling faster, and a "bike lane" will not protect them.....plus, the hiking trails will need to be modified. The new bridge will be mostly over the flood zone, so crossing does not guarantee access to flooded roads on the other side. The new bridge needs to be East of the Park where there is higher elevation to avoid the negative effects and expenses.
Myth #9: "It takes too much wait time to cross the old bridge when cars are coming the other way."
FACT: It is more likely that there is NO waiting when crossing the bridge, but when one must wait for a car or two to cross, or perhaps wait for a couple of hikers to cross, it takes no longer than when you stop for a traffic signal. This is a bridge in the middle of a City Park, so drivers need to acknowledge this and be patient.
Myth #10: "A new bridge is needed to handle new growth in the area."
FACT: The "new growth in the area" comment by Newton County Commissioner Cook is misleading. A "gated" residential area has been built (lots are 3-5 acres each), and at present only about 6 homes in past 10 years have been constructed. I see those folks using the egress/ingress to S. Schiffendecker as it is the nearest. The rest of the land is used for agriculture.
Synopsis: Those who live on the Southwest side of Shoal Creek, including Shoal Creek Estates and Grand Falls Estates, should realize that the demolition of the Low Water Bridge, and the construction of a new bridge, will take up to a year to complete, and that they will be forced to use alternate ways to get to their homes. Tourists and locals who enjoy the scenic drive to visit Grand Falls will also be required to take another inconvenient route. Would it not be better to continue to use the Low Water Bridge while a new one is being built nearby, and out of the Park? Then, once completed, the Low Water Bridge could be closed to vehicles and used by Park visitors as an attraction....a win-win for everyone!