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U.S. 701 Bridge Closures Will Begin Wednesday

701 Bridge Crane Set up to move girders

A crane for setting the girders has been mobilized at the U.S. 701 bridge under construction outside Elizabethtown. Also shown is the crane's counterweight made of several blocks weighing 10 tons apiece.

ELIZABETHTOWNAfter a short delay, a state Transportation Department contractor is ready to begin closing the U.S. 701 bridge to traffic for the next phase of construction.

The contractor needed two additional days this week to test rotating the crane and making adjustments to the stone foundation on which it sits at the Cape Fear riverbank. It took 56 trucks to haul the crane into sections over the past week. It now towers over 400 feet.

The bridge will close each weekday from 9-10 a.m. and from 2-3 p.m. Digital message boards will remind the public of the closures, which are expected to last until the last week of May.

The twice-a-day-closures will allow the 42 girders to be offloaded onto the bridge, then hoisted onto the new bridge being built alongside the existing one.

The NCDOT and contractor have been coordinating with local emergency officials. A sheriff's deputy will be stationed on either end of the bridge during the closures, ready to relay any emergency needs to the contractor to allow an ambulance or law enforcement vehicle to cross the bridge.

In addition, the town of Elizabethtown will station a fire truck on the northside of the bridge for each closure, and town police will be providing traffic support for key intersections that may become congested when the bridge is closed.

Construction of the $23.3 million bridge project began in the summer of 2020 with the demolition of one bridge. The 1,218-foot bridge will have four lanes and is scheduled to be completed and opened to traffic by late spring 2024.


5/3/2022 1:39 PM