Jack’s Island at Lawson Creek Park closed for water/sewer project, marshwalk extension underway

Work is underway on two major improvement projects that will bring changes to Lawson Creek Park. 

Jack’s Island and the loop road that runs beside it will remain closed for the next 30 days so water and sewer crews can prepare the area for underground construction, according to Colleen Roberts, public information officer for the City of New Bern. The project involves connecting two pieces of water infrastructure a pipe coming from Walt Bellamy Drive with another underground pipe already installed beneath Jack’s Island.

Roberts said the city had hoped the boring project would begin this month but due to settling of the pipe connect that timeline has now been pushed back to around the end of November. 

The work is part of a project that includes the installation of a 12-inch sanitary sewer force main that began in February. The work will provide redundancy in the city’s sewer infrastructure and flow process from the James City area to the New Bern Wastewater Treatment Plant on Glenburnie Drive. The project will eventually include boring approximately 2,300 feet underneath the Trent River across to James City.

The work also includes the relocation of a pump station that currently sits on the banks of Lawson Creek that will be installed to handle all of the sanitary sewer. 

According to the city’s Water Resources Department, the total project is still on schedule to be completed by spring of 2026. 

Also underway at Lawson Creek Park is phase two of the Marshwalk Extension Project. The work will extend the existing marshwalk approximately 300 ft to the water’s edge and include a 10 ft by 30 ft fishing platform at the end.

The boardwalk at Lawson Creek Park.

The project is funded by a $110,000 Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA) grant that requires the city to provide matching funds of $37,000. 

Roberts said the city received its CAMA permit for the work at the end of September and expects construction to begin in the next several weeks. 

The final part of the marshwalk project, phase three, will be an extension from the fishing platform that will run approximately 500 feet back to the Lawson Creek Park Drive loop that connects Jack’s Island. The construction of a shelter on Jack’s Island is also planned as part of phase three. 

Roberts said the work was recently sent out for bids and an announcement should be forthcoming on the bid award.

Phase three will also require a CAMA permit that is state and federally vetted, Roberts noted. Once submitted, she said the review period for these types of permits is 90 days. 

“That said, it’s difficult to say when phase three will start and how long it will last,” she commented.

The city built the current Lawson Creek Park marshwalk, a 400 ft wooden boardwalk that ends in an observation deck, in 1990 thanks to a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant. Though portions of it were severely damaged during Hurricane Florence in 2018, the city was able to repair the structure at a cost of approximately $80,000.

By Todd Wetherington, co-editor. Send an email with questions or comments.