An Aiken landmark hanging on the edge

An Aiken landmark hanging on the edge

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Wednesday, Sep. 7, News 12 NBC 26 at 6 O’Clock

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) — An Aiken landmark, hanging on the edge.

“It needs to be stabilized, so that historic building can be preserved,” Aiken Engineering Director George Grinton said.

Years of erosion from rain and winter storms have eaten away at the earth the Willcox Inn in Aiken stands on. Grinton says it’s now to the point where the historic site’s future is threatened.

“It’s gotten to the point where the soil has fallen and is actually endangering some of the foundations and corner pieces of the Willcox Inn,” he said.

At some points the erosion has reached just three feet away from parts of the building. But a grant from FEMA has given hope.

New renderings show a concrete wall held to soil by nails, keeping soil from creating even more of a slope.

“It should be a lasting, durable solution,” Grinton said.

But the railroad cut has the same slope down the line and already shows erosion beginning, which means other spots could be looked at.

“That’ll come into play, this has more erosion than other areas, but that would be looked at for future,” he said.

Now this issue is not just down at the Willcox Inn, but goes all the way down the tracks at the York Street bridge, which is scheduled to get replaced, part of that replacement is to actually stabilize it’s soil as it’s faced some of the same erosion problems.

The threat against a landmark gets the ball rolling and now future issues along Aiken’s railroad cut should have a proven solution.

“I think what we’re kind of doing is establishing a methodology for the future to how we take car of any other issues may come up,” Grinton said.

The hope is to have the design finished by the spring and to start construction immediately to finish in nine months to a year. A big challenge working on these railroad tracks are the actual trains coming through and delaying work, but one of the plans should allow crews to work off the tracks and keep the price under $2 million.

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Source: News