Retaining wall worries affect Mercer Street parking
Ongoing concern about a buckling retaining wall under the western edge of Mercer Street above CNB Bank has led Town of Bath officials to physically block off parking in the problem area.
Town crews installed “No Parking” signs across from the Berkeley Springs Presbyterian Church roughly two weeks ago, but the signs were placed oddly, so that many drivers didn’t see them and continued to park above the retaining wall.
During the January 18 Bath council meeting, council member Irene Hedrick said she and other church members simply didn’t notice the signs, which faced the opposite side of the street and were placed half a block apart.
At the Tuesday meeting, council member Kenny Easton said he had already told police officer Gene Kilduff to order additional signs and place them in a more visible location.
By last Friday, the new signs and large barriers had been put in place to clearly mark the area council is most concerned about.
Debating wall repairs
Thrasher Engineering has estimated a cost of $156,000 to pull down and rebuild the aging retaining wall behind CNB Bank. The wall is already buckling in several sections. Bank officials asked the town to address the problem several months ago.
Council member Scott Merki said discussions with Public Works employees led him to consider another solution – to build another wall just two feet from the existing wall, and fill in between the two with stone.
Merki said the bank would have to grant the town an easement or give over that portion of their property to accommodate the second wall.
He said that option might mean the town could keep several mature trees along Mercer Street, many of which have roots growing through the current retaining wall. Merki said it could also save the town from moving one or two utility poles, which would have to happen if the old wall were demolished.
Mayor Susan Webster drew a sketch of the new wall, to show that it would be reinforced and angled to bear the weight of the old wall and stone fill.
Council member Irene Hedrick said the town should seek the advice of an engineer before deciding to do the work themselves. The plan is still under discussion.