The North Carolina Department of Transportation is shutting down one of the major connectors to the Outer Banks for a week while crews repair the swing-span drawbridge. Jared Brumbaugh has more.
The Alligator River Bridge, linking Tyrrell and Dare counties, will be closed to all vehicle traffic and boat navigation Jan. 10 through Jan. 16. Crews will repair and replace electrical and mechanical components located beneath the bridge’s swing-span drawbridge. Communications Officer for NCDOT Division 1 Tim Hass says the work is part of extensive renovations aimed at extending the life of the 58-year-old span.
“This is a $16.7 million renovation project and they’re working on virtually everything: the structure, the deck, the swing span. The whole idea is to keep this thing running and safe for traffic until such time as we have the funding to replace it.”
Work to the structurally deficient bridge has been ongoing on since spring 2016. During the closure, signage will guide traffic around the construction. Motorist coming from Dare County to Columbia should expect a 30 to 45 minute detour. Traffic coming from areas west of Williamston should add about 20 minutes to their trip.
“It’s fairly low traffic this time of year. They’re aren’t as many people coming to the Outer Banks in January or in March. And we want to be able to leave the bridge open when the weather gets better and people are heading to the Outer Banks more often.”
The project will require another week-long closure for the bridge in March 2018, though no exact date has been set. The Alligator River Bridge will remain open for other repairs expected to last through September 2019.