New year will bring bridge work

Published 9:32 pm Monday, December 9, 2013

The U.S. Highway 17 business bridge over the Tar-Pamlico River is one of three eastern North Carolina bridges on the agenda for NCDOT’s bridge preservation program.

The bridge is scheduled to undergo structural steel repairs and painting, but the exact start date is yet to be determined, according to Bill Kincannon, resident engineer with NCDOT’s Division II.

“The contractor has a floating date of availability which means they can start at their choosing somewhere between Dec. 1 and April 15,” Kincannon said.

He went on to explain that the contractors have 390 days from the start date to finish the three bridges. Barring one week of full closure in which traffic will be rerouted onto the U.S. Highway 17 bypass, the bridge will remain open during construction.

“They have to have two lanes open at least, one in each direction at all time, with the exception of seven consecutive days. But that has to happen outside of the time period between Memorial and Labor Day weekend,” Kincannon said, adding that the work shouldn’t inhibit summer traffic on the highway.

While many bridges of the same age are being scheduled by NCDOT for replacement altogether, the 85-year-old bridge is not on NCDOT’S 10-year bridge-replacement plan.

“It’s one of those things where we’ve done preservation to extend the life (of the bridge). It was rehabilitated, though, in 1966. That’s probably why you’re getting more life out of it,” said Maria Rogerson, NCDOT’s Division II bridge program manager.

Rogerson said these scheduled repairs are an extension of work done in 2008.

“This is kind of like the last work we were doing on it. A few years ago we replaced the deck on the swing bridge and did all the repairs for that.  Now we’re just doing the remainder of the work,” Rogerson explained.

Kincannon said this time around, the job will focus more on deck and beam work. The start date may be undecided but Kincannon said the contractor, Freyssinet, Inc. of Sterling, Va., won’t begin repairs until after a January preconstruction conference.

In addition to the U.S. 17 business bridge, the 49-year old Carteret County bridge on U.S. 70 in Newport will have concrete repairs done as part of the preservation process and the bridge on Maple Cypress Road built over the Neuse River overflow in Craven County in 1972 will have pile jacks installed.

The contract for the three eastern North Carolina bridges was one of 22 contracts worth $76.5 million awarded by NCDOT on the latest list of projects for roads and bridges across the state, according to a press release from NCDOT. They were awarded to the lowest qualified bidder, as required by state law.