Expect Alligator bridge openings to take longer than usual

By on February 7, 2018

Nine draw bridges remain in operation in N.C. (CRO)

Travelers on the Lindsay C. Warren Bridge over the Alligator River should expect draw openings to take longer than normal for the next few days, and allow for extra travel time between Columbia and Manns Harbor.

Following problems with a temporary control system over the weekend on the six decades-old bridge that carries U.S. 64 between Dare and Tyrrell counties, crews had to utilize a workaround so the swing span can turn and let vessels through.

“That means the draw has to turn much slower than normal,” said N.C. Department of Transportation spokesperson Tim Hass.

“When a barge has to come through we have to open the bridge much earlier, and it will take much longer to close,” Hass said.

Traffic was blocked for over four hours on Saturday, after the swing span could not be completely closed because of the controller issues, forcing travelers to take detours that can add up to 90 minutes to a trip between Nags Head and I-95.

New hydraulic equipment is scheduled to arrive Wednesday and take a couple of days to install, which should help increase the speed of the draw, according to Hass.

He said after the next week-long closure scheduled for sometime in March, the draw should be able to operate even faster.

The bridge is currently undergoing an extensive renovation project costing $16.7 million designed to extend the life of the 58-year-old, two-lane span.

Crews repaired and replaced electrical and mechanical components located beneath the bridge’s swing span during a full week closure in January.

Remote-programmable signs that were brought to Manns Harbor and Columbia at the time of Saturday’s closure will remain in place to alert travelers if the bridge is shutdown for an extended period in the future.


  • Sharon Corey

    The next dates scheduled is during Saints Patrick’s Day. Why would they close it on a busy weekend when visitors come? That will make a lot of people stay home with the added travel time on a already rushed weekend. They did the same thing last time, my visitors stayed home, I lost out and stayed home too.

    Wednesday, Feb 7 @ 8:50 am
  • Shawn Gray

    With this going on, the bridge should have hourly openings instead of opening for every boat that comes along. They could broadcast the schedule on the Coast Guard Notice to Mariners and the boaters can pace their arrivals on the hour. This would be a way to lessen the chances of a major traffic delay and they could let a bunch of boats through at a time rather than open for a single vessel every 15 or 20 minutes.

    Wednesday, Feb 7 @ 10:14 am
  • Sam Walker

    Good point, Shawn.

    One thing to keep in mind is that this bridge opens on-demand for commercial traffic (barges) per Coast Guard regulations, unlike some of the ICW bridges in Chesapeake and the Pasquotank River Bridge in Elizabeth City due to vehicle traffic/avoiding AM and PM commutes where they schedule those openings and then its on demand at other times.

    The amount of recreational boat traffic transiting the ICW is minimal this time of year. There may only be a handful of openings at all during a week, let alone in a day. That’s one of the reasons the work they have been doing on the span, that required the week-long closures, is happening now before the spring migration of boaters and increased traffic to and from the Outer Banks begins in earnest . No real easy solution to this problem, other than of course a fixed span replacement.

    Wednesday, Feb 7 @ 11:25 am
  • beachgirl

    It would be nice if signage was put up in Manteo and Williamston so we don’t waste time and fuel driving. Driving from the west, Columbia is a long drive to turn around.

    Wednesday, Feb 7 @ 2:04 pm
  • Bill Voliva

    State should be ashamed… been putting a band aid on as a fix for years. Do something right for a change and fix the problem.

    Wednesday, Feb 7 @ 2:43 pm
  • ray hedgepeth

    “beachgirl” has the answer……….

    Wednesday, Feb 7 @ 5:19 pm
  • Happy Jack

    beachgirl is absolutely correct.

    Thursday, Feb 8 @ 8:47 am