Market Street Extension to have bridge replaced

Published 6:41 pm Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Market Street Extension, just south of N.C. Highway 171, will be closed to traffic for approximately five months.

Market Street Extension’s Bridge No. 6 over Big Swamp is scheduled to be replaced, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

“It is a structurally deficient bridge that was part of our Build NC projects that identified about 77 bridges in North Carolina that need to be replaced,” said Michael C. Aman, the bridge program manager with NCDOT’s Division 2 Project Development Group. “It’s just one of those things where it’s at the end of its lifespan.”

The project is set to start between Oct. 7 and Oct. 21, and is expected to take an estimated 150 days. During that time, a 4.6-mile detour around construction will use N.C. Highway 171, Avenue Road/St. John Church Road and Market Street Extension.

Beaufort County Schools Transportation Director Jerry Wynne said he does not expect the bridge replacement and detour to have too much impact on busing for students. Wynne said the area, just south of the Martin County line, is sparsely populated.

“The primary difference is going to be the travel time for the detour, which is  five or eight minutes,” Wynne said.

The bridge over Big Swamp was built in 1971 and, at its last rating, scored 67% sufficiency. Aman said the weight limit on the bridge had already been lowered.

Several Beaufort County bridges are slated to be replaced. Gray Road closed in Chocowinity in late July for a bridge replacement; it is expected to reopen on Dec. 31. Two other projects planned this year for U.S. Highway 17 Business, including a bridge replacement over the Norfolk Southern Railroad line, just north of Whichards Beach Road, and extensive repairs to the drawbridge spanning the Tar-Pamlico river coming into Washington, were postponed because all bids received were considerably higher than NCDOT’s estimated cost. Aman said other bridge projects in the works, but none will see any action this year.

“At this time, there’s stuff that we’re working on but nothing that’s going to be coming out until 2020,” Aman said.