North Carolina Bridge to Close for Six Months

March 18, 2024
The 69-year-old bridge has been undergoing repairs since last summer

Later this spring, motorists in North Carolina will see that the Old Manns Harbor Bridge, the link between Roanoke Island and the mainland, will close for six months.

The bridge has been undergoing repairs since last summer. According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), the work is leading up to an extended closure that willl begin in May.

Motorists will have to use the Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge.

The span, formally known as the William B. Umstead Bridge, replaced a ferry between Manns Harbor and Roanoke Island when it opened in 1955. Last summer, contractors began working on the bridge’s footings, piles and other substructures as part of a multi-year, $33 million rehab.

This month, the speed limit on the bridge will be reduced from 55 mph to 45 mph as workers install steel plates on the deck and prepare to rebuild and replace expansion joints. When the bridge closes in May, workers will replace all 170 expansion joints along the 2.7-mile-long bridge and apply a new sealant to the deck, according to NCDOT spokesman Tim Hass.

The four-lane Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge, the longest in the state at 5.2 miles, bypassed Manteo and the William B. Umstead Bridge.

“This bridge serves a significant portion of Dare County’s transportation needs,” Hass wrote, “such that the NCDOT has determined there is value to keeping this bridge in service versus the cost to remove the structure.”

The repair work isn’t expected to be completed until late 2026. At that point, NCDOT will restore the speed limit to 55 mph, except when the purple martins are swarming.


Source: The Charlotte Observer

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