Wilmington - The Department of Transportation has awarded a $54 million contract to replace the swing bridge on N.C. 50/210 over the Intracoastal Waterway in Surf City in Pender County.
The contract, awarded to Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc. of Wilmington, will replace the current structure with a new bridge with a 65-foot vertical clearance that will not need to open for vessels on the waterway. It will also provide additional capacity for the bridge along that route, an important improvement when emergency access to the mainland is needed in cases of hurricane evacuation.
The existing steel truss bridge is 61 years old and is functionally obsolete. That means while it is still safe, it must open on demand for commercial vessels, often creating traffic issues, and it requires a lot of maintenance.
Work on this project is scheduled to begin as soon as Sept. 26. The new bridge is expected to open for traffic by mid-September 2019, with the entire project wrapped up by Nov. 2020.
Some lane closures will be needed during construction, but no detours are proposed at this time. The existing bridge is one of two that provides access to Topsail Island.
This was one of 12 road and bridge projects recently awarded by the N.C. Department of Transportation. They came in at about $125.4 million, which was $6.2 million under DOT engineers' estimates. The contracts were awarded to the lowest qualified bidders, as required by state law.