Two lanes of Wright bridge to close for 8 months

By on August 2, 2013

Work will close both westbound lanes. (Sam Walker)

Work will close both westbound lanes. (Sam Walker)

A 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.

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Roy Cobb

August 12, 2013 7:40 pm

The state will continue to fix it until it’s broke.
They must not have noticed that the Pirates Cove bridge does the same thing at the right speed.

Native Son

August 10, 2013 5:29 am

Still,our traditional hurricane threat is the period from Sept.1 thru Oct.15.This will make evacuation dicey at best.

Stan Clough

August 7, 2013 11:24 pm

Thanks Ray, I have survived thru a lot of those stories, and am still here. I think we are getting ready to start to get better. we will see…..


August 6, 2013 8:48 am

@Stan Clough, thank you for that comment. A lot of people know that story and it’s a dam$ shame it happened. Not one of Dare County’s most precious political stories, and there are volumes of them that will never be written.

Stan Clough

August 5, 2013 6:21 pm

When the bridge with the “humps” was built, it started in currituck and progressed east. As they were approaching our vacation rental season, and were not done yet, political pressures came to bear on the contractor to get it done, the pre-stressed concrete structual pieces were rushed and the result is what we have. It has always been like it is. Oh well….


August 5, 2013 1:44 pm

GOD forbid that we have a hurricane evacuation while this is going on! Who was the brilliant person that chose the dates for closing? Obviously, someone who doesn’t mind putting lives in jeopardy! Would it not be wiser to wait until middle of October, towards the end of hurricane season?


August 5, 2013 9:41 am

I would agree with the others…seems to me that it has been “bouncy” since it was first built.

Sure will be nice to have it “ironed out”! Every time headed home with our travel trailer in tow, I have to do 45mph over the bridge to keep the ride comfortable and safe.


August 5, 2013 7:12 am

The perfect weather conditions seem a bit unrealistic and the timeframe to fix way to long. Just hope the current quiet hurricane season continues.


August 4, 2013 7:56 pm

Jon, there are TWO bridges. The original 1966 bridge now hosts both US158 eastbound lanes. The newer mid 90′s bridge (the one that needs work) hosts US158 westbound lanes.


August 4, 2013 9:45 am

Make the speed limit 50 and it will be fine.


August 4, 2013 6:12 am

So, how many times will taxpayers pay to “fix’ this bridge?


August 3, 2013 5:50 pm

Uh, the bridge was built in 1966, I doubt the builder offered a 47 year warranty. Or maybe y’all are talking about the 1997 rehab, but again that was 16 years ago.


August 3, 2013 3:31 pm

The bumps are the result of the contractor using concrete that was to light when the bridge was built in the mid 90′s. Drivers will notice each span humps in the middle, and is lowest on each joint (where the pilings are). The concrete didn’t weigh enough to properly settle the beams under the bridge deck to flatten them like it was designed.

Funny thing is, traffic will be rerouted onto the old bridge (currently the eastbound span)…a bridge that was opened in 1966 and is as flat as you can get!


August 3, 2013 1:02 pm

There was an attempt to fix it when it was first built by “sanding’ it. Lets hope this repair does a little better job and if all those conditions have to be met they will be lucky to finish this decade. I sure hope we don’t
needI it for an evacuation while its closed.


August 3, 2013 10:49 am

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.
Okay so no one sees a problem with this perfect weather conditions of wind less than 10 mph. I foresee project costs and deadlines being expanded.


August 3, 2013 7:52 am

BULL! It’s been that way since the day it opened! If anything it’s less bouncy now!


August 3, 2013 6:59 am

Sorry, I meant cost.


August 3, 2013 6:21 am

Love the way they said it was sagging! Last I remember when they built that think it was worse than now. It’s not from sagging, it’s from the builders doing a poor job building it and then the state signing off on it!


August 3, 2013 12:13 am

I’m glad they are taking care of the westbound side of the bridge but as I recall it had “dips” in it from the day it opened… don’t you think the contractor should be responsible for some of this cout?

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