New Darden Memorial Bridge may feature lights

Published 9:22 am Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Courtland Business Panel has come up with a plan to install decorative lighting on the new Darden Memorial Bridge, most similar to the lighting on the Holland-Councill Memorial Bridge in Franklin.

The panel, comprised of members of the Southampton County Board of Supervisors, the Franklin-Southampton Economic Development group and business owners within the town, have collaborated for more than two years.

The goal is to ensure the new bridge fits its physical setting, and preserves and enhances the scenic and historic character of Courtland and the Nottoway River.

The plan calls for the installation of 22 lights, with all cost shouldered by the Virginia Department of Transportation. According to spokesperson Laurie Simmons, the county qualified for a special program called “Context Sensitive Solutions,” which grants $100,000 toward the project.

The amount will cover the cost of the installation of the lights, but the department will not assume responsibility for any operational or maintenance costs. This means that electricity, lamps, replacements posts, etc., must be covered by the county.

County Administrator Michael W. Johnson said that county will cover the cost of the aforementioned operational and maintenance costs by way of its operating budget (under the Streetlights category). VDOT has estimated power consumption at $1.20 to $1.50 per fixture/per month, or roughly $400 annually.

The addition of lights would not extend the estimated completion date, and Simmons said Route 35 remains on track to reopen this fall.