EAST BEND – The Donnaha Park will be closing this month in preparation for construction to begin on a new bridge spanning the Yadkin River. According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the Donnaha bridge is one of the longest bridges in western North Carolina and construction on the new bridge is expected to begin late this month.
A $9.5 million contract was recently awarded to replace the 71-year-old bridge on N.C. 67 that spans the Yadkin River and connects Yadkin and Forsyth counties, said David Uchiyama, NCDOT communications officer.
“Smith-Rowe, based in Mount Airy, earned the contract with the lowest bid among 10 qualified bidders. Construction may begin as soon as March 29, and the contract calls for completion in May of 2024,” said Uchiyama. “Traffic on N.C. 67 will continue driving on the existing bridge until the new bridge, which will be built just to the north, is complete. This eliminates the need for a long detour.”
“The new bridge will span more than 1,000 feet across the river and Donnaha Park below. Built to modern standards, it will feature 12-foot wide lanes with 4-foot-shoulders plus reflective paint and snow-plowable markers in the middle. The project also creates a safer alignment at the intersection of N.C. 67 and Donnaha Road in Forsyth County.”
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has agreed to close Donnaha Park during bridge construction and is in the process of posting signs. NCDOT is contacting additional paddling groups and river users to help update online access maps. The Yadkin Riverkeeper organization has also posted announcements of the park/river access closure to its Facebook page.
Yadkin County Parks and Recreation Director Jason Walker said the closure of the Donnaha Park will have a big impact as the park is often used by area residents as a river access for fishing and boating.
As alternatives for water recreation until the bridge construction is completed, Walker recommended the Shore River access in Boonville and the Huntsville River access in Courtney. There is also a river access in East Bend on Shoals Road. Lake Hampton at the Yadkin Memorial Park also provides fishing and boating options. There is a small fishing pond located at the Yadkin County Park in Yadkinville as well.
For real-time travel information, visit DriveNC.gov or follow NCDOT on social media. For more information on river and park access in Yadkin County visit .yadkincountync.gov/129/Parks-Recreation.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-258-4035 or follow her on Twitter @RippleReporterK.