ELIZABETHTOWN, N.C. (WECT) - An N.C. Department of Transportation contractor began demolishing the U.S. 701 North bridge in Bladen County Tuesday.
Smith Rowe LLC of Mount Airy is razing the two-lane bridge, which the NCDOT closed last fall after hurricanes had damaged the substructure. Northbound traffic has been shifted onto the adjoining southbound bridge, which operates in a two-way pattern spanning the Cape Fear River.
Along with demolishing the bridge, the contractor will:
- Repair soil erosion, known as scour, caused by past flooding around the bridge’s foundation; and
- Remove an obsolete fender system once used for barges that is adjacent to this bridge.
“The Federal Highway Administration has approved the NCDOT’s plan to replace the northbound and southbound bridges with a single, four-lane bridge, which will reduce maintenance costs and lower the risk of more damage by future flooding,” a news release states. “The NCDOT plans to award a separate contract this fall to begin construction. The bridge construction will be phased, meaning two lanes will be open for traffic in a two-way pattern throughout the project.
The FHWA has agreed to pay 80 percent of the project’s estimated $29 million cost.
The project is expected to take three years to complete.