Umstead Bridge speed limits to be reduced for remainder of preservation project

Published 11:43 am Thursday, March 21, 2024

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The speed limit on the U.S. 64 William B. Umstead Bridge (known locally as the Old Manns Harbor Bridge) is being reduced from 55 mph to 45 mph as crews continue a $33 million bridge preservation project on the 69-year-old structure.

“In the coming weeks, workers will begin replacing the bridge’s aging expansion joints and installing steel plates on the bridge deck. Because of this, lower speeds are necessary for safety and to maintain traffic flow while the bridge remains open,” stated a press release from NCDOT.

In May, the bridge will close to all traffic for at least six months as the preservation project enters its next phase. Drivers traveling between Manns Harbor and Roanoke Island can use the Virginia Dare Bridge as an alternate route.

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The project is not expected to impact the purple martins that nest in the bridge during July and August, as work will not occur between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. during nesting season.

The project is expected to be complete in late 2026, at which point the speed limit will return to 55 mph.