By Rob Morris on August 2, 2013A car ride that can feel almost as rough as boating on a white-capped sound is scheduled to be ironed out by a $6.3 million project starting this fall on the Wright Memorial Bridge.
But it will mean shutting down half of the bridge at least until May.
For several years, a series of dips on the deck of the heavily traveled span has made for bouncy, and potentially dangerous, driving for motorists heading west between the Outer Banks and mainland Currituck County.
The N.C. Department of Transportation has awarded a $6.3 million contract to G.A. & F.C. Wagman Inc. of York, Pa. to repair the bridge, which crosses the Currituck Sound and is the only way off the northern Outer Banks.
Plans are to replace the sagging pavement with a layer of latex-modfied concrete that the highway department says will smooth out the riding surface. In addition, seals will be replaced in joints that allow the bridge to expand and contract with the weather.
“The westbound bridge will be closed during the project with traffic in a two-lane, two-way pattern on the eastbound bridge,” the highway department said in a statement Friday.
Conditions need to be right before crews can work with the latex-modified concrete, the statement said. Air temperatures must be between 50 and 85 degrees with surface temperatures between 40 and 85 degrees. Wind speeds can be no more than 10 mph.
Work is scheduled to start Sept. 15, after the summer rush. The bridge is expected to fully reopen May 15.
Highway officials could not be reached Friday to discuss contingencies for possible evacuations. The hurricane season peaks in mid-September. The Voice will be following up in coming days.
The contract is one of 29 totaling $107.5 million awarded by NCDOT in June for highway and bridge projects across North Carolina, the statement said.