Town in a rut over an erosion problem - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Town in a rut over an erosion problem

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CHARLESTON (WRCB) - Several months ago the Charleston, Tennessee Street Department noticed some movement of a steel beam under a culvert on Wool Street. The beam is supposed to provide added support but might be weakening due to erosion. This is an environmental concern for officials, including city manager Caroline Geren.

"There's a stream that runs through there. You have erosion and you have things [that shouldn't be there] going in to the stream," explains Geren.

This isn't safe for those who enjoy going to the Charleston City Park. Wool Street runs right alongside it.

Geren says a couple of inspectors have looked at the culvert, including one from the state. One says there's a problem, the other says there isn't.

"We're kind of off-kilter right now trying to decide what needs to be done," says Geren. "They both suggested an engineer [to do a study] which is a costly project. We don't have it in our budget this year."

Another concern is that sometimes logging truck drivers use Wool Street as a short cut to and from the Bowater Mill. If a loaded logging truck tips over, there could be dire results once the park gets busier come spring.

"That park is used a tremendous amount of time. It could be dangerous for kids that are over there, or even adults," adds Geren.

She also says closing off the short cut won't affect the truck drivers' route. Wool Street is just off Highway 11 (Hiwassee Street) which goes right through town and to the mill. They can take the same way back as they do to get there.

"We're getting legal opinions as to whether or not we can close that road to [log] truck traffic, and it seems like that is a possibility," says Geren.

And if the budget works out next year, Geren says she hopes the culvert can simply be replaced.
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