The contractor building the much-delayed Slocum Creek bridge has told state officials that the project would be completed by Nov. 1.
The bridge was initially scheduled to open in May, with other opening dates set for July and September as delays continued. To date, Palmetto Construction, of Charleston, S.C. has been assessed about $44,000 in fines for failure to complete the bridge on schedule.
“We have withheld a certain amount of payment from them and that will be to cover the damages based on the delays that they have caused,” said Brad McMannen, a district 2 engineer for the N.C. Department of Transportation.
The $2.8 million project, which included demolition of the old Church Road Bridge, construction of a new 325-foot-long bridge joining the service road, and a rerouting of Church Road, has been plagued with delays since before it started.
Not all the delays have been the fault of the contractor. Palmetto had to wait more than a month and a half through September of 2012 to start the project to allow Progress Energy to reroute lines and remove a power pole that was in the way. Wet weather in August further delayed the project, and issues with subcontractors required more time to the complete curb and gutter work and pipe installation.
McMannen said Palmetto Construction sent a letter this week with the new Nov. 1 opening date.
“They’ve got to finish the curb and gutter out, do some more sidewalks, place asphalt, install guard ramps off all four corners of the bridge, finish the seeding and mulching and do some median work,” McMannen said. “That should basically complete the project.”
McMannen said that DOT officials are trying to set up a date to have an official opening.
“They’re trying to get a date set up for that,” he said. “I think they are going to have a ribbon cutting. We might put a Christmas bow on it by then.”
The new bridge is replacing the old Church Road bridge, which was constructed in 1924. The DOT repeatedly rated it as one of the worst bridges in Havelock and in Craven County.