NCDOT gears up to replace aging bridges

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Across North Carolina, the NC Department of Transportation is conducting a major overhaul of aging bridges.  In Division 3, which covers six counties including New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender, 45 bridges are somewhere in the process of replacement, said Amanda Glynn, the division’s bridge program manager.

The Wilmington Star-News reported many other bridges are being preserved or overhauled, partly because of the state’s Bridge Improvement Program, which is ensuring the DOT meets the a General Assembly initiative to commit around $450 million in state funds to improve bridges between 2011 and 2013.  In Division 3, that pot of money is supporting the replacement of 25 bridges, Glynn said. Federal dollars are being used to replace the additional 20. About 40 other bridges are being rehabilitated. Rehabilitated bridges could receive a number of improvements.

Since the General Assembly wanted the money spent in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 fiscal years, the DOT mainly focused on replacing small bridges and secondary roads that could go back in the exact same place, said Paul Garrett, the DOT’s state bridge program manager.  Replacing low-impact bridges means faster permitting, he said.

In Southeastern North Carolina, those bridges are smaller and their replacement would have lower impact on the community and natural environment. “These are all quick and simple,” Glynn said. Ten of those new bridges will be inBrunswickCounty, and two will be in Pender County.  “We’re trying to infuse more money,” Garrett said. “Currently, there’s more bridges becoming structurally deficient and in need of replacement than we’re replacing.”  The money from the General Assembly helps address that, he said. In his 25-year career with the DOT, he has never seen the kind of blitz bridge replacement and repair activity he sees now.

NCDOT awarded a $2 million contract to Dane Construction Inc., of Mooresville to replace two bridges over Black Creek north of Benson in Johnston County.  The contract includes plans to replace the bridge on Federal Road over Black Creek east of I-40 and the bridge on N.C. 50 over Black Creek west of I-40, reports the Triangle Business Journal.

The department also announced that it had awarded a pair of contracts totaling close to $2.8 million to replace two Wake County bridges that are each at least 59 years old. A $2 million contract was awarded to S. T. Wooten Corp. of Wilson to build a new bridge over Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks on Piney Grove Wilbon Road west of Fuquay-Varina and off N.C. 42. The other bridge contract awarded was worth $802,370 and went to Dane Construction Inc. to replace the Watkins Road bridge over Powell Creek in northeast Raleigh.  Read More.

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