Umstead Bridge to close for six months beginning mid-May

Published 7:02 pm Sunday, April 21, 2024

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The William B. Umstead Bridge on U.S. 64 over Croatan Sound will be closing in the second half of May for an estimated six months as a $33 million bridge preservation project enters a critical phase, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

The Old Manns Harbor Bridge, as it is known locally, connects the northern end of Roanoke Island with mainland Dare County.

During the closure, all 313 concrete spans on the bridge will be repaired and each of the 170 expansion joints will be replaced. Given the extent of the restoration work and the narrow lanes on the 69-year-old bridge, NCDOT has determined that a complete bridge closure is preferable to completing the work under single lane closures.

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“We realize it will be an inconvenience for some commuters,” said NCDOT resident engineer Pablo Hernandez. “However, the safety of both motorists and workers is our top priority, and a complete closure of the bridge is the safest alternative for this type of work.”

The bridge is scheduled to reopen with lane closures in the fall. In the meantime, drivers traveling between Manns Harbor and Roanoke Island can use the Virginia Dare Bridge as an alternate route.

The bridge 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 bridge preservation project is scheduled to be complete in late 2026.