Mercer Street off-limits to big trucks until town stabilizes wall above CNB
An aging concrete retaining wall underpinning the road shoulder along Mercer Street has become the Town of Bath’s newest project, after officials from CNB bank pressed the town to make repairs to the crumbling wall, which is on municipal property.
The bank’s property in downtown Berkeley Springs is bordered on the east by the wall, which has buckled at several points along its length. At some points, only a few substantial trees are holding the wall in place. The wall holds up the shoulder of Mercer Street across the street from the Presbyterian Church. Cars often park on that side of the street. CNB has two storage sheds only feet from the wall.
During discussions about the problem at the November 2 Bath council meeting, Councilman David Crosby suggested the town post a sign establishing a five-ton weight limit for vehicles using Mercer Street, so that heavy trucks wouldn’t press down on the road surface and cause the wall to collapse completely. Town officials ordered the police chief to install street signs announcing the restriction.
There was some discussion about blocking off the parking spaces on the west side of Mercer Street above the problem wall, but town officials made no decision about that step.
Thrasher Engineering representative Randy Watson, who was in town to give a progress report on the water pipe replacement project, said he had sized up the retaining wall.
“It’s shot. It has no rebar in it,” Watson said.
He said his company would make up estimates for the cost of removing the old wall and building a new one with reinforced concrete. Watson suggested the town could get grants from a variety of sources to fund the work, which he said would take about a month.
When pressed by Mayor Susan Webster for a ballpark estimate for the work on the wall, Watson guessed it would cost at least $75,000 and possibly up to $90,000.