This morning, the N.C. Department of Transportation
and Archer Western Contractors LLC began a large-scale concrete pour at the site of the new eastbound U.S. 158 Pasquotank River drawbridge in Elizabeth City. Photos can be found on the NCDOT Flickr site
.In order for crews to construct the new pier foundation that will support the hinge of the drawbridge, all water must be pumped out from the area surrounding Bascule Pier Six of the bridge. To perform this task, a 50-foot by 70-foot steel-wall box has been constructed surrounding the pier. The bottom of the box is ten feet below the river bottom and the top is three feet above the water surface. A 23-foot-thick concrete seal must be placed on the floor of the steel box to resist pressure and prevent any water from entering the box once the cell is pumped dry. Crews began placing approximately 2,600 cubic yards of concrete this morning through a series of pumps that extend to the bottom of the river. That is enough to pave a 12-foot-wide driveway approximately 3.5 miles in length. The pour is expected to take approximately 30 hours to complete at a rate of about 90 cubic yards per hour, or the equivalent of one concrete truck every eight minutes. As of this afternoon, approximately 750 cubic yards had been poured and work is on pace to be complete by mid-afternoon Saturday. The concrete supplier on the project, Commercial Ready Mix of Elizabeth City, is using more than 10 mixer trucks from plants in North Carolina and Virginia for this work.During the course of the pour, more than 500,000 gallons of water will be displaced. NCDOT and Archer Western are working with the City of Elizabeth City to properly handle the displaced river water. Because live concrete can affect the pH and turbidity of water, a temporary underwater pipeline has been installed to transfer water from this location on the east side of the river, across the channel to the shore in Elizabeth City. The water is being accepted into the City of Elizabeth City's Waste Water Treatment System. This concrete pour is part of a $57 million project to reconstruct Elizabeth Street/U.S. 158 between Water Street and North Road Street, as well as replace the eastbound drawbridge bridge over the Pasquotank River. The road reconstruction and bridge replacement project is currently on schedule for completion in June 2015, with the new eastbound bridge opening to traffic this summer. All traffic is currently using the westbound bridge in a two-lane, two-way pattern.Motorists are advised to use caution while traveling in the area and to expect delays. NCDOT reminds motorists to watch signs for construction information, stay alert and obey the posted speed limit. For real-time travel information at any time, call 511, visit www.ncdot.gov/travel or follow NCDOT on Twitter at www.ncdot.gov/travel/twitter. Another option is NCDOT Mobile, a phone-friendly version of the NCDOT website. To access it, type "m.ncdot.gov" into the browser of your smartphone. Then, bookmark it to save for future reference. NCDOT Mobile is compatible with the iPhone, Android and some newer Blackberry phones.