Controversial fence installed under bridge to deter homeless encampments

November 19, 2023 by No Comments

Recently, a fire at a homeless encampment located under the Russ Avenue bridge in Waynesville led to significant disruptions in essential services. In response to this incident, a local official has devised a strategy to prevent the formation of such camps and avoid similar accidents in the future.

Representative Mark Pless noted that the area beneath the bridge has often been used by homeless individuals for shelter. The items brought in and left behind at these sites can pose safety risks. To address this, he has collaborated with the NCDOT to install fencing around the area.

Nearly three years ago, a fire under this bridge caused considerable damage to an AT&T fiber line, resulting in the loss of phone and internet services for various local businesses and schools in Haywood County.

The installation of the fence was completed last week. Following this, Pless mentioned that DOT crews would be responsible for clearing any leftover debris. The maintenance of this newly fenced area will be overseen by the DOT, while local law enforcement will be tasked with monitoring the site to prevent any breaches in the fencing.

Despite this being potentially successful in the short-term, time will tell whether it will be a sucess. One reason for this is that it could simply lead to the encampment setting up shop elsewhere.

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