The N.C. Department of Transportation
earlier this month closed the westbound U.S. 158 Wright Memorial Bridge
over the Currituck Sound at the Currituck and Dare County line. Both directions of traffic are currently in a two-lane, two-way pattern on the eastbound bridge. Traffic has been heavy on the eastbound bridge during peak times, such as weekends, with backups in recent weeks. NCDOT reminds motorists to plan for extra time when crossing the eastbound bridge and be prepared for delays.The closure of the westbound bridge is necessary for crews with G.A. & F.C. Wagman Inc. of York, Pa. to finish a project that began last September and included replacing the top portion of the existing concrete on the bridge deck with a layer of latex-modified concrete that will smooth out humps in each span of the bridge and extend its service life. Work involving the latex-modified concrete overlay can only be done when air temperatures are between 50 and 85 degrees, surface temperatures are between 40 and 85 degrees, and wind speeds are no greater than 10 miles per hour. Due to these restrictions, the department could not delay the beginning of work later into fall without increasing risk of the project not being done in time to reopen the bridge on May 15, which is the project deadline.NCDOT has been monitoring traffic on the eastbound bridge since the westbound bridge closed. Adjustments will be made to traffic signals if necessary to help improve congestion. The department also reminds motorists that U.S. 64 can be used as an alternate route. Should a hurricane or other severe storm impact this region of the state requiring an evacuation, NCDOT will work closely with local emergency management officials to coordinate appropriate routes, including using U.S. 64 and the eastbound bridge on U.S. 158.A $6.3 million contract was awarded to G.A. & F.C. Wagman Inc. in June 2013 for this preservation project, which is part of the department's overall bridge program to improve the condition of the state's bridges. Investments in our transportation infrastructure provide better access and support economic growth across the state. The project also includes replacing expansion joints, which enable the bridge to expand and contract with the weather. Crews were able to complete deck work on two-thirds of the bridge before reopening it in May to accommodate increased seasonal traffic.Motorists are advised to use caution while traveling in the area and to expect delays. For real-time travel information at any time, call 511, visit the NCDOT traffic website or follow NCDOT on 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.