Bridge dangers: Is it safe to get to the other side?

Reported by Lynda Figueredo - email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Two years ago the I-35 Mississippi River bridge near downtown Minneapolis, collapsed causing hundreds of vehicles to plummet into the river below.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, repairs were underway on the bridge at the time of the accident, indicating the collapse could have been due to some failure caused by the work.

Though the tragic incident took place hundreds of miles away, the event struck fear for many people in the Cape Fear Region.

For the past 20 years, New Hanover County resident Jimmy Rowell holds his breath as he crosses the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge on his way to work.  He says he wouldn't want to be stopped on the structurally deficient bridge with tractor-trailers in front of him.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, structurally deficient defines bridges that are restricted to light vehicles, require immediate rehabilitation to remain open, or are closed.

The Cape Fear Bridge was build 40 years ago, and has recently has recently had some cracks repair.  The DOT says the current design of the bridge is unable to adequately service today's traffic, but has no plans to replace it.

The DOT says the Bridge at Third Street in Wilmington needs to be replaced as well, but there is a lack of funds and available personnel to get the job done.

The National Bridge Inventory Database shows, there are 11 other bridges in the area that are considered structurally deficient or worse.

Click here to see the complete list of bridges

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