ELIZABETHTOWN – The N.C. Department of Transportation on Saturday night closed the U.S. 701 bridge over the Cape Fear River in order to conduct emergency repairs.
A fast-moving, swollen river from recent rains has eroded the concrete wing wall on the south end of the bridge. An NCDOT employee noticed the erosion Saturday, prompting the closure as a safety precaution.
The 30-mile detour is sending drivers onto N.C. 53 into White Oak, Tarheel Ferry Road, River Road and N.C. 87.
The department is mobilizing Saturday night to begin repairs, which will include building a coffer dam around the wing wall and then pouring concrete. The current estimate is completing the repairs and reopening the bridge by Tuesday.
An NCDOT contractor is in the midst of constructing a new, four-lane U.S. 701 bridge over the Cape Fear River alongside the current one that was closed Saturday night. The rising waters have not disturbed the new bridge, which is scheduled to be completed by May 2024.