Alligator River Bridge span stops traffic Feb. 3

Published 2:16 pm Wednesday, February 7, 2018

All highway traffic over the Alligator River bridge that links Dare and Tyrrell counties was halted for more than four hours on Saturday, Feb. 3, Tyrrell County Sheriff Darryl Liverman reported.

Officers with the Dare County Sheriff’s Office, Tyrrell County Sheriff’s Office and the State Highway Patrol responded to block U.S. Highway 64 traffic at both the east and west ends of the bridge after the swing span became stuck in the open position about 7:19 a.m.

An NC Department of Transportation crew and a private contractor responded to work on the bridge.

The bridge reopened to traffic around 11:45 a.m. Saturday.

The two-lane bridge, originally opened in 1962, is undergoing a $16-million rehabilitation, including repairs to the mechanical parts of the center-pivot swing span that accommodates vessels on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.

The project is addressing the mechanical and electrical systems on the bridge as well as the concrete surface on the deck and pilings. At this time, the bridge is operating on a temporary control system, NCDOT Division Engineer Jerry Jennings told the Dare County Board of Commissioners Monday morning, Feb. 5.

Jennings told the commissioners that mobile message signs will be located in Manns Harbor and Columbia to warn of any future shutdown so that motorists have the option of taking a detour.

Another planned closure of the bridge will take place March 14 through 20, said Jennings.

Dare Commissioner Steve House was caught on the bridge.

As to replacing the Alligator River Bridge, Jennings reported that the agency is currently working on the environmental documents for the widening of U.S. 64 from outside Columbia to the intersection with U.S. 264.

It is hoped that the bridge replacement project will be marked Phase One of that entire widening project and the bridge replacement will be included in the State’s Transportation Improvement Program next year.