N.C. Department of Transportation officials said last week that completion of the new service road bridge across Slocum Creek will be later than first planned.
Brad McMannen, DOT assistant engineer, said the bridge would probably not open until early or middle July. Initially, the project was expected to be finished in May.
McMannen said the delay was caused at the very beginning of the project in October of last year when Progress Energy and Time Warner Cable had to remove poles and lines.
"That initial delay pushed everything back about a month and a half to two months," he said. "The only other hiccup was the bridge demolition. Trying to cut the pieces out took a while."
McMannen said Palmetto Contracting, which is doing construction, would not be fined for the delay since the company had no control over the delay.
The new span replaces the old Church Road Bridge, which had been in place since 1924 when Calvin Coolidge was president and the typical car was a Ford Model T. Bronze placards denoting the construction of the old bridge were donated to the city before the narrow concrete span was demolished.
The remaining concrete pieces of the bridge were taken to a waste pit despite plans that called for their use as part of the new roadbed for the relocated Church Road.
"The reason why they didn’t use it was they would have had to cut out all of the rebar that was in that concrete and I guess that was a little bit of tedious work so they decided the best interest and time would be to just haul it off and bring in new material," McMannen said.
Workers with Palmetto Contracting lowered 14 of the last 70-foot slabs in place to form the main span of the bridge last week.
"Once they get that span finished and get those slabs tied in and grouted, they’ll be putting barrier rail in," McMannen said. "They still have work to do on the new tie in to Church Street … then some sidewalk and some seeding and mulching."
In the next couple of weeks, the bulk of the work on the new bridge will have been completed, McMannen said.
The old Church Road causeway that approached the now-removed Church Road Bridge will be cut down to the wetlands elevation. Some of that material will be used to create the base for the realigned Church Road, which will intersect the service road just east of the new bridge and creek near the old Wendy’s restaurant.
According to McMannen, the plan calls for asphalt to be poured on the top of the new bridge.
A 4-foot-wide pedestrian and bicycle path will be part of the new bridge, which will also have lights overhead.