SURF CITY – People heading to Surf City will be able to arrive more quickly, thanks to a new high-rise bridge that opened Tuesday nine months ahead of schedule.
The new 65-foot-high Surf City Bridge represents an improvement over the old swing bridge it replaces, as the swing bridge forced motorists to wait numerous times each day so the bridge could be opened to allow boats to pass. Traffic now can move continuously over the bridge as boats pass underneath.
“After nearly 60 years of service, the bridge reached a point where it needed to be replaced,” Bobby Lewis, chief operating officer for the N.C. Department of Transportation, told a crowd gathered for the reopening ceremony Tuesday. “With local input, NCDOT decided to build a fixed-span, high-rise bridge to better meet the needs of the community now and into the future.”
The bridge was originally scheduled to open in September 2019. But crews with NCDOT and Balfour Beatty Construction worked with the local community to accelerate the construction of the much-anticipated bridge so it could serve the community sooner.
After Tuesday’s ceremony, officials led a vehicle procession across the new bridge to officially open the 3,773-foot span between Topsail Island and the mainland. The new bridge also boasts 7.5-foot bike lanes and a 10-foot wide multi-use path.
Tuesday’s other speakers included Mike Alford, the local representative with the state Board of Transportation, Surf City Mayor Doug Medlin and Surf City Councilwoman Teresa Batson Batts.
The swing bridge, which was opened in 1955 after Hurricane Hazel, will be dismantled next year.