RALEIGH -N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Gene Conti has awarded a $1.5 million contract to replace the bridge on N.C. 32 over Pungo Creek in Beaufort County. Carolina Bridge Co. of Orangeburg, S.C. was awarded the contract, and construction can begin as early as Feb. 27. The contract calls for replacement of the bridge and paving the approaches, and is scheduled to be completed by June 15, 2013. This is one of 39 contracts totaling $203.2 million awarded by Conti for highway and bridge projects across North Carolina. NCDOT awarded the contracts to the lowest bidders, as required by state law. The bids received on the projects awarded came in about 2.9 percent, or about $6.2 million, below NCDOT estimates. Since Gov. Bev Perdue took office in January of 2009, NCDOT has awarded 511 highway contracts totaling $3.8 billion to ensure that all North Carolinians have access to jobs and educational opportunities. According to the Federal Highway Administration, every $1 million spent on transportation creates 30 jobs, and according to the construction industry, every dollar invested in transportation generates $6 in economic impact.