RALEIGH - One of the oldest bridges in Wake County will soon be getting replaced. The N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has awarded a $3.3 million contract to Blythe Construction Inc. of Charlotte to replace the 73-year-old bridge over the Neuse River on Falls of Neuse Road.
The contract awarding comes just a few days after the City of Raleigh opened a new four-lane bridge over the Neuse River on New Falls of Neuse Road. That bridge will serve as part of the detour route while the NCDOT project is under construction. The NCDOT had originally planned to close the Falls of Neuse Road bridge in January 2011, but decided to wait until the city opened its bridge before moving ahead with the replacement project.
The detour will send northbound traffic onto New Falls of Neuse Road, over the new bridge, then north on Capital Boulevard, and west on N.C. 98 back to Falls of Neuse Road. Southbound traffic on Falls of Neuse Road will turn left on N.C. 98, right on Capital Boulevard and right on New Falls of Neuse Road.
Only nine of the nearly 450 state-maintained bridges in Wake County are older than the Falls of Neuse Road structure. It is considered structurally deficient and functionally obsolete. That doesn't mean it is not safe, but that its original design no longer meets current standards for width and shoulders for the traffic volume it handles, and there are elements of the bridge that have had to be monitored to maintain its structural integrity.
Construction can get underway as early as November 28, with the current bridge scheduled to be closed no later than December 31. The new bridge is scheduled to be open by June 1, 2013.
This was one of 11 contracts worth $71.7 million awarded by Transportation Secretary Gene Conti for highway and bridge projects across North Carolina. The contracts were awarded to the lowest bidders, as required by state law, and came in at 12.2 percent, or about $10 million, below NCDOT estimates. Since Gov. Bev Perdue took office in January of 2009, NCDOT has awarded 427 highway contracts totaling $3.4 billion to ensure that all North Carolinians have access to jobs and educational opportunities.
For more information about funding for infrastructure improvements in North Carolina, as well as other NCDOT projects and activities, visit www.ncdot.gov.