RALEIGH - N.C. Department of
Secretary Gene Conti has awarded a contract to replace the 1st
Avenue North (N.C. 16) bridge over Interstate 40 in Conover.The $3.1 million contract was awarded to Blythe Development Co. of Charlotte.
Work can begin as early as Feb. 27 and is scheduled to be completed by Nov. 15.The old bridge will be replaced in its existing location.
All lanes of I-40 will remain open during construction except during small
windows of time at night when the new girders are set.The bridge was built in 1957 and is deemed both functionally
obsolete and structurally deficient. This does not mean the bridge is unsafe,
but there are elements of the bridge that need to be monitored to maintain its
structural integrity, and its layout no longer meets current design standards
for width, shoulders or rails. The new bridge will be able to accommodate
larger vehicles than the current bridge.An off-site detour route has been set up for the project to handle N.C.
16 traffic. Traffic heading north will take 4th Avenue (Country Home Road) to
10th Street NW back to 1st Avenue North. Southbound traffic will take
the reverse.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