RALEIGH - N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Gene Conti has awarded a contract to replace three bridges in Beaufort County and eight in Pitt County. The $7.9 Million contract was awarded to Intercoastal Contracting Inc. of Castle Hayne. Work can begin as early as April 2 and be completed by Nov. 1, 2015.The three bridges in Beaufort County being replaced are located on: N.C. 45/99 over Pungo River Canal; Carrow Road over Chicod Creek; and Terra Ceia Road over Broad Creek Canal.The eight bridges in Pitt County being replaced are located on: N.C. 903 over Tranters Creek; Askew Road over Little Contentnea Creek; Askew Road over Pine Log Creek; Stantonsburg Road over Black Swamp; Stantonsburg Road over Little Contentnea Creek; Grimesland Bridge Road over UT Hunting Run; Short Bridge Road over Tyson Creek; and Hines Drive over Swift Creek.This project will utilize the design-build method, which allows the design, environmental permitting, right-of-way acquisition, utility relocation and construction to take place at the same time, under one contract. This method reduces overall construction time, helps the department avoid cost inflation, allows the contractor to make innovations that save taxpayers money, lessens environmental impact and alleviates driving delays for motorists. This is one of 29 contracts totaling $167.9 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 7.5 percent, or about $13.5 million, below NCDOT estimates. Since Gov. Bev Perdue took office in January of 2009, NCDOT has awarded 540 highway contracts totaling $3.9 billion to ensure that all North Carolinians have access to jobs and educational opportunities. The contract is among 17 to be let by June 2012 using a new concept called express design-build, which can go from zero to construction in eight months. The concept is more efficient than traditional methods in that it does not require a technical proposal; the contract award winner is selected solely on low bid. The projects will replace about 175 bridges across all 14 highway divisions. The projects will create private-sector contractor jobs immediately while improving the economy over the long term through investments in bridge and highway infrastructure.