NCDOT division leader reports on road, bridge projects

Published 9:31 am Saturday, June 11, 2022

Transportation, in all its modes, is vital to Dare County.

On Monday, June 6, 2022, the leader and staff of Division 1 of North Carolina Department of Transportation visited with the Dare County Board of Commissioners.

New division engineer Win Bridgers introduced division staff and updated the commissioners on NCDOT projects in or affecting Dare County.

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Two major projects in the State Transportation Improvement program are repairing the U.S. 64 bridge over Roanoke Sound. A contract has been let for the estimated $38 million project involving substructure and epoxy overlay on the bridge deck. The deck work would begin this fall after Labor Day.

Another project is replacing Bridge No. 8, which is over Slash Creek in Hatteras Village. Estimated cost is $1.6 million. That project has been pulled back for redesign.

Two times during his presentation, Bridgers gave the commissioners updates about the Rodanthe Bridge. As of Tuesday, June 7, striping remained to be finished at the roundabout at the bridge’s south end. At the north end, striping to tie in the bridge approach with existing NC 12 pavement waited to be done.

Two projects now under construction are:

– Colington Road from the road’s dead end to US-158, 4.204 miles. The project started Feb. 1, 2022 and is expected to be completed in April 2024. The bid amount is $19,955,000. The project is currently 18% complete.

– Improve access to Coquina Beach and Bodie Island Lighthouse on NC 12. Turn lanes will be added. The state-funded project has not started at this time.

Replacing the Alligator River Bridge brought extensive discussion.

First, the swing bridge opens when maritime traffic demands, unlike some bridges with scheduled openings.

“We’ve asked. We have written,” said Bridgers, but scheduled openings are not permitted as maritime traffic on the Intracoastal Waterway takes precedence.

“We need to build a bridge,” said Bridgers. Early on, the parties which may be involved in the bridge design and placement gathered and put issues on the table. As a result, the environmental work was completed in a little over a year.

NCDOT has just applied for a federal grant to fund 60% of the estimated $212.26 million to build the replacement. As presented, 20% of the funding would come from federal funds allocated to the state and 20% would be state money.

Bridgers said the project doesn’t work with existing state bridge replacement funding.

About the mid-Currituck bridge, Bridgers reported that a lawsuit was resolved in favor of NCDOT. However, Southern Environmental Law Center has noted an appeal; an estimated timeline for a court decision is six months.

Regarding the safety of US 158 in Currituck County where horrific wrecks have happened recently, Bridgers said the only real way to stop such events is to physically stop vehicles crossing the center lane.

Bridgers showed 2021 and 2022 resurfacing projects slated for Dare County. The projects are labeled by the year of the contract. Winning bidders have 18 months to resurface the roads. In Dare, some 40 paving projects were listed in the presentation.

While the first named storm of the 2022 season is crossing the Atlantic Ocean, Bridgers reminded the commissioners “we’ve already had our first storm.”

At the start of the presentation, Bridgers introduced division staff: Ronnie Sawyer, division maintenance engineer; Jack Liverman, assistant division maintenance engineer; Randy Midgett, division construction engineer; Gretchen Byrum, division project development engineer; Craig Midgett, division planning engineer; and David Otts, district engineer.

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