Troubled Pond Project Delayed Again

SNOW HILL – The Bishopville Pond
restoration project should have been completed this spring, but concerns over
the pond bridge pushed the work back.

Work could begin on the pond
restoration in June 2009, Comprehensive Planning Director Sandy Coyman reported
to the County Commissioners Tuesday morning.

“It’s been an effort that’s
taken quite some time,” he said.

The delay came through an
unforeseen design issue: how to prevent the serious exposure of bridge pilings,
through scouring, during a storm. In 1989, soil around the bridge pilings was
simply stripped away by water swelled by a major rainstorm.

“There was 12 feet of steel
piling exposed, the foundation of the bridge, where soil had been completely
washed away,” Coyman said. “The State Highway Administration (SHA) has to be
absolutely sure that anything done upstream from that bridge does not add to
the scouring problem.”

Neither of the two computer
models used by SHA is appropriate for the problem, as the head of tides is
right under the bridge.

“All the models that deal with
tidal situations don’t work. All the models that deal with non-tidal situations
don’t work,” said Coyman. “They’ve been spending months scratching their

All permits and designs are
ready to go when the bridge problem is solved.

“We’re really at the pinch
point. This one piece of information has been holding up the whole process,”
Coyman said.

Seedlings meant for the
Bishopville Pond and Lizard Hill borrow pit restoration are now twice the size
they were meant to be for planting by the project.

“It’s been around five years or
more,” said Commissioner Judy Boggs.

According to Commissioner Linda
Busick, the project was first discussed nine or 10 years ago.

“This has been a long, long
effort,” said Commission president Virgil Shockley.

Steps to be completed before the
project is sent for bid in April 2009 include the bridge scouring analysis and
State Highway Administration approval, permits, approval of mine restoration
for Lizard Hill, sand procurement, and a memorandum of understanding between
SHA and Worcester County.  The design is
60-percent complete, sufficient for permitting.

Worcester County
contributed $20,000 for initial design work, with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife
Service contributing $425,000 and the Department of Transportation giving $1.2