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Contract to refurbish U.S. 17 bridge awarded

By Staff
Project could start as early as Monday
By CLAUD HODGES, Senior Reporter
A $2.2 million contract to repair the U.S. Highway 17 bridge across the Pamlico-Tar River at Washington was awarded Thursday.
At the N.C. Board of Transportation meeting in August, the board gave state Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett the authority to award the contract for the work to the four-lane swing span bridge where the Tar River becomes the Pamlico River. West of the bridge, the waters are known as the Tar River. East of the bridge, the waters are known as the Pamlico River.
Landford Brothers Co. of Roanoke, Va., is to begin the work as early as Monday, with completion expected by May 15..
The project includes replacing the bridge’s metal decking and structural steel and painting those metal components.
He said the existing elevated level of noise comes from steel plates that are “sort of like Band-Aids” on the bridge. Eatmon said those steel plates will be removed and replaced with substantially better plates that will produce “much less noise.”
While the work is being done, the bridge will be impassable for larger boats that cannot navigate through the existing lower spans, he said. When the work is complete, Eatmon said, the swing function will be resumed and larger boats may have the bridge opened so they can move upriver.
Eatmon said there will be no problems for small boats at any time during the repair work because they may navigate between other spans not affected by the work.
The construction area will be open to vehicle traffic throughout the project’s duration. Vehicular traffic over the bridge will be maintained by using a two-lane, two-way traffic pattern instead of the four-lane, two-way pattern now in use.
The existing U.S. 17 bridge over the river will not be removed when the bridge for the U.S. 17 bypass is completed, Eatmon said.
There is no reason to direct local traffic to the bypass to travel between Washington and Chocowinity, he said.
In another transportation matter, the Department of Transportation reported Friday that Beaufort and Martin counties will benefit from a $624,785 contract for guardrail rehabilitation awarded by the Transportation Board at its Thursday meeting.
Elderlee Inc. of York, Pa., is scheduled to start the work between Oct. 29 and March 15, 2008, with completion set for 180 days after the start date.
Part of this contract includes attaching guardrails to existing bridge rails on the U.S. 17 bridge over Gum Swamp.
Also, guardrails on the U.S. Highway 264 bridge that cross Tranters Creek west of Washington will be improved, Eatmon said.