Experts say Surf City bridge construction to have minimal summer traffic impacts

Experts say Surf City bridge construction to have minimal summer traffic impacts
Surf City bridge progress as of April 19.
(Source: WECT)
(Source: WECT)

SURF CITY, NC (WECT) - The Town of Surf City and the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) held a meeting to update the community on the Surf City bridge construction Thursday night.

The public was able to view full-size plans of roadway and roundabout construction as well as detour plans and timelines.

They learned a necessary traffic detour should only have minimal impacts on summer traffic. A detour will shift traffic on the mainland side beginning July 9.

"We currently have one lane of traffic onto the island, one lane of traffic off of the island. That pattern is going to stay the same for the duration of the project," said NCDOT Resident Engineer Trevor Carroll. "That's the really big takeaway from this meeting tonight. Our contractor will have to do some night work, to do some pacing tie-ins, but we're going to try to have that work at nighttime."

Some expressed concern about business impacts for stores and restaurants located along Roland Avenue, the main road the swing bridge currently leads to. Surf City Mayor and longtime Roland Avenue business owner Doug Medlin says it is less about a problem, and more about nostalgia.

"I've been looking at this bridge since before it was put there," Medlin said. "I was here when we had the pontoon bridge. But I've been seeing this bridge since 1954 and been crossing it, and so it's like anything else. You get a little bit of a sentimental attachment to it, but it's served its purpose."

The detours will end when construction ends, which is expected to be around Thanksgiving.

Project managers also announced the demolition of the existing swing bridge and all street modifications are expected to be done by May 2020. Overall completion, including reestablishment a vegetation area, is scheduled for November 2020.

In March, NCDOT officials announced the bridge could be finished earlier than expected. The contracted completion date for the bridge is Sept. 25, 2019.

The contractor originally could earn $10,000 a day for each day the bridge is completed early with a maximum payout of $1 million (100 days). NCDOT officials have increased the maximum number of days to 300 for a possible incentivized payout of $3 million.

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