Use site at Knobbs Creek bridge for watercraft access
Friday, May 11, 2018
I realize that I’m a little late for the Moffatt and Nichol public hearings to make suggestions for projects to improve Elizabeth City’s waterfront appeal; but seeing The Daily Advance’s recent front page story on “Paddle for the Border” prompted something that’s been on my mind for a while.
Before the new U.S. Highway 17 bridge was built across Knobbs Creek, there was an area on the southern bank (right across the highway from Leary’s Alignment Center) that locals could park their vehicles and launch small watercraft (i.e. canoes, kayaks, and small john boats).
Before the bridge was completed, officials decided that it would be nice to modify the original plans and raise the bridge a couple of feet so small watercraft could easily pass under it; great idea.
A work-order-change was approved. Work-order-changes that require additional material and additional design engineering hours usually cost additional money.
Well, the bridge was raised and completed. Ironically, the bridge overtook the original launch area. This totally nullified the intent of the work-order-change because now there is no longer a place to launch small watercraft. Knobbs Creek runs mainly through inaccessible swampland.
I recommend that the area in the same general location of the old site be developed into a new launch site. This would cost a fraction of any of the Moffett/Nichol projects. The center median strip on the highway is already open for traffic that leads into the driveway access that is also already in place. Consider the new launch area the completion of the original intent of the work-order-change to raise the bridge.
Imagine a first time visitor coming into town, crossing the bridge, and seeing folks enjoying our waterways; all of this even before they get to the downtown waterfront. It would make a great first impression of our town, and give locals a spot to enjoy a day on the water.
Don’t know if this will ever happen; I’m just putting it out there for consideration. Remember, we already have money invested.