Turkey Creek bridge replacement rescheduled

Lauren Williams Staff Writer

September 30, 2013

Initially set to close in late August, a bridge located on North Main Street (SR 1909) in Turkey is now scheduled to close next week, starting Monday, Oct. 7, for needed replacement.

A major project that will completely close both north and southbound lanes along a portion of that roadway, located 0.76 miles north of JCT N.C. 24/Turkey Hwy., the bridge replacement work experienced a “small delay,” said Shannon Baylor, local NCDOT bridge maintenance supervisor.”They (the contractor) are getting everything set up and getting their equipment moved down there.”

“It was rescheduled for the contractor to mobilize his equipment in,” agreed NCDOT bridge engineer technician Adam Britt who is overseeing the project. “They’re supposed to start Oct. 7 with traffic control, putting out signs and all.”

The bridge replacement work is under contract for $648, 547 with Fred Smith Company Construction of Raleigh. The NCDOT has sought the company’s help in replacing the bridge because, according to NCDOT division bridge program manager Amanda Glynn, the 36-year-old bridge has a history of maintenance issues.

“The problem is the type of deck. It’s corrugated steel filled with asphalt pavement,” shared Glynn previously, explaining that the steel is welded to beams in the bridge and that those welds are breaking. “It’s notoriously difficult to maintain, just lots of maintenance issues which takes up quite a bit of time.”

Glynn pointed out that the bridge, which crosses over Turkey Creek, is not very old but its design, one that was popular in the late 1970s and early 1980s, “has just not held up well.”

“Most (bridges) are designed for a 50 year life-span but we have bridges that are 75 years plus that are holding up much better,” she added.

The bridge has been flagged as both functionally obsolete and structurally deficient by the NCDOT on its website.

Although still safe to travel, “a bridge is considered functionally obsolete if it is narrow, has inadequate under-clearances, has insufficient load-carrying capacity, is poorly aligned with the roadway, and can no longer adequately service today’s traffic.”

Similarly, when a bridge is categorized as structurally deficient, it is still safe for motorists but “requires repairs and was built to design standards no longer used for bridges. A bridge is considered structurally deficient if it is in relatively poor condition, or has insufficient load-carrying capacity. The insufficient load capacity could be due to age, the original design or wear and tear.”

Before the main bridge replacement work can begin, the NCDOT must first move some power lines in the area, Glynn noted, so that a crane can be brought in and used in the replacement process.

“The excavator and the crane are both big but the crane is by far the largest,” shared Britt of the equipment the project will require, adding that he anticipates the power lines will be relocated and the crane will be mobilized next week.

Once such preparations are made, the replacement, which Glynn previously described as a “complete replacement” including “removing everything, driving new vertical support piles, and installing a new deck,” will keep the bridge closed for approximately four to five months, potentially through Friday, February 28, 2014.

While the contractor makes the improvements to the bridge, motorists should plan to take a short detour via SR 1913.

This bridge replacement project is part of a larger state-funded bridge replacement program. Currently, there are eight more bridge replacements planned for Sampson County under the program.

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Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at