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NC Officials Pushing to Replace Bridge

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

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At the beginning of the month, officials based in Dare and Tyrrell counties in North Carolina appealed to Raleigh and Washington officials regarding the replacement of a 60-year-old bridge in the area.

The Lindsey C. Warren Bridge—more commonly known as the Alligator River Bridge—is a 2.8-mile-long single swing bridge which crosses over the Alligator River on US 64.

About the Bridge

Original construction of the bridge launched in 1960 and was completed just two years later in 1962. According to reports, the swing span technology was one of the first three, long-span applications of welded girders to be constructed in North Carolina.

Ken Lund, CC-BY-SA-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

At the beginning of the month, officials based in Dare and Tyrrell counties in North Carolina appealed to Raleigh and Washington officials regarding the replacement of a 60-year-old bridge in the area.

Overall, the bridge is composed of 341 spans, measuring a total length of 14,928 feet. All but one of the spans are reported to be prestressed concrete stringer spans, varying in lengths ranging between roughly 50 and 70 feet. Each span is supported by reinforced concrete bents.

According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the rim-bearing swing-span bridge can more readily move wide, heavy loads, as the structure employs a circular girder called a drum that moves on rollers, which in turn follow a track atop the pivot pier. The rim-bearing span is engaged by a rack and pinion drive system powered by electric motors and direct-drive shafts and gears.

In a July 2018 inspection report, the structure received poor condition ratings on its substructure and overall condition, while its superstructure and deck was reported to still be in fair condition.

Following the report, the NCDOT launched a 17-month project. Work involved the installation of a new epoxy deck overlay to prevent water from seeping off the road surface onto the bridge structure underneath it, as well as joint replacements, repairs to the concrete superstructure, and mechanical and electrical rehabilitation of the bridge’s swing span.

In November, NCDOT announced that the $16.7 million rehabilitation project on the infrastructure had reached completion.

In January of this year, Dare County Commissioners requested that NCDOT include the replacement of the bridge in its 2023-2032 State Transportation Improvement Plan.

What’s Happening Now

Commissioner Wally Overman reported during a Nov. 2 Dare County Commissioners meeting that while the structure has undergone previous rehabilitations, the bridge continues to experience a repetition of failures, and ultimately called for a full replacement of the infrastructure.

Currently, between 200 and 400 local residents are reported to travel over the bridge in commuting between Tyrrell and Dare counties regularly for work.

While NCDOT Division 1 Communications Officer Tim Hass has noted that although a consultant was tasked earlier this year with completing an environmental review of the replacement, this process has been postponed due to COVID-19-related budget restraints.

However, once the review is complete, the NCDOT would still need to identify $150 million in funding. In the meantime, Overman reports that he has already contacted state Sen. Bob Steinburg, U.S. Congressman Greg Murphy and State Representative Bobby Hanig seeking their support.

“We need to keep the hammer down on this now until we get some sort of positive resolution,” said Overman. “It is something that we really need to press on and keep pressure on DOT to get this done however they get the funding—whether it’s federal, state, whatever. We really don’t care. It just needs to be fixed.”

The Town of Columbia’s Board of Aldermen is also sending former resolutions and letters to state representatives asking for their support, according to Town Manager Rhett White.

White also reported that he expects that the Southern Albemarle Association will lend its support to the replacement project when it meets in January and that proponents will seek the official support of the Albemarle Rural Planning Organization at its next quarterly meeting.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Bridges; Department of Transportation (DOT); NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Rehabilitation/Repair; Upcoming projects

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