Upcoming bridge repairs, road construction drivers should know about

Published 8:00 am Saturday, March 23, 2024

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The Ray S. Brooks Bridge leading into Bath will close at 8 a.m. this Tuesday, March 26 for 60 days, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). 

The bridge is located on Highway 92 and spans Bath Creek. 

The department’s goal is to have work completed on the bridge and to open it by Memorial Day weekend, according to Lauren Haviland, a communications officer for NCDOT. 

Drivers going to and from Bath will follow a detour on U.S. 264, Boyd Road, Post Road and Jackson Swamp Road to avoid construction. 

“Crews will replace a center bridge span, which has corroded,” a press release from NCDOT states. According to a public notice from the U.S. Coast Guard, the purpose of the project is to remove weight restrictions on the 64-year-old bridge and replacing the span will add to the bridge’s longevity. 

There will be barge/crane activity in the waterway during demolition and construction, per the public notice. 


East Main Street 

The City of Washington plans to spend $500,000 for repairs to a bridge on East Main Street that spans Jacks Creek. A completion date has not been set at this time. 

A vehicle recovery effort at Jack’s Creek in early February exposed a continuous issue with the bridge. 

According to City of Washington Public Works Director Hope Woolard, the bridge was modified 20 years ago and at that time “box culverts and weep holes were added on the wing walls, and the approaches to the bridge was backfilled with sand.” 

In other words, tunnel-like concrete structures were added to the bridge to provide cross drainage from one side of the bridge to the other. Outlets for water drainage were added to retaining walls adjacent to the bridge span. The portion of the bridge that carries traffic was backfilled with sand. In the last 20 years, the portion that carries traffic, or the approaches, “have settled over time and the City has added asphalt to smooth it out,” Woolard explained. 

She continued, “during the car recovery event at Jack’s Creek we believe it exposed an ongoing problem with sand washing out of the weep holes, which was probably the cause of the settling in the approaches.  This was not something that could be identified doing a normal visual inspection.  To remedy this we plan to back fill the area under the approach with flowable fill.” 

Because water in Jack’s Creek was pumped down during the vehicle recovery effort, the city saw a need for repairs to a small leak in the water and sewer lines that run along the bridge.  

“In doing so we noticed a small leak in the water line and that the support systems for both the water and sewer lines were in need of repair.  Since the bridge will have to be isolated to do the repairs we decided to be proactive and go forward with repairing the water and sewer lines as well,” she said.

According to City Manager Jonathan Russell, $205,000 will go toward asphalt work and structural repairs. Another $295,000 will be funded through the City’s water and sewer fund in their regular budget. 

B.E. Singleton & Sons will be doing the repairs.    

Douglas Crossroads 

Drivers should be aware of additional road construction that will begin in the near future. 

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is preparing to convert a four-way intersection at Douglas Crossroads and Highway 32 into a roundabout to improve safety and traffic flow. Over the next several weeks, NCDOT will have frequent lane closures. There will be three primary traffic shifts, Beaufort County Government shared.  “Alerts will be published on DriveNC and social media. NCDOT will have portable message boards in each direction before transitioning phases to notify the public of traffic shifts,” county government shared.  

U.S. 264 from Asbury Church Road to a half mile from Douglas Cross Roads 

Drivers should expect to see road closures along this road span as NCDOT constructs a Reduced Conflict Intersection (RCI) to improve traffic flow and safety. When complete, drivers on side roads will not make a left turn, cutting across traffic. Instead, they will make a right turn then enter a left turn lane to make a u-turn. 

Starting May 15, there will be traffic pattern changes as construction of medians for the project starts in U.S. 264’s roadway. It is expected to last till June 1. Both interior lanes and the turning lane will be affected, according to Beaufort County Government. 

Images by the North Carolina Department of Transportation

Images by the North Carolina Department of Transportation