Eastbound Wright bridge reopens, but work remains

By on May 10, 2018

Cathodic jackets were installed around some of the pilings to protect the steel inside from corrosion and extend their lifespan. (Sam Walker)

The eastbound side of the Wright Memorial Bridge reopened to traffic on Thursday, but the $21 million renovation project of the 52-year-old span that started last fall is not quite complete.

The eastbound span that carries U.S. 158 over Currituck Sound was closed in October for repair and refurbishment work. All traffic was diverted to the westbound span while work progressed.

One lane will be open on both the east and westbound sides for the next couple of days while crews complete lane markings. Both lanes in each direction are expected to reopen on Monday, according to NCDOT spokesperson Tim Hass.

But there is still work taking place of the substructure underneath the eastbound span that opened to traffic in 1966, and that will mean periodic single lane closures during weekdays through the summer.

Those closings will take place only on Mondays through Thursdays, Hass said.

The work involved placing a new overlay material on the concrete deck on the bridge, and replacement and sealing of expansion joints between each slab.

Also replaced was a section of concrete slab added in 1995 where steel grates were once located to the east of the navigation span, and other work has been done to repair and rehab concrete support structures on the bridge.

Cathodic jackets have also been placed around a number of pilings that support the bridge, which are designed to protect the steel inside the pilings from salt water corrosion and extend their life.

Traffic has been reduced to one lane in each direction of the Wright Memorial Bridge for three of the last four off-seasons.

In 2015 and 2016, the westbound span was closed for a full resurfacing to correct a design flaw when it was built in 1994 that caused vehicles to bounce as they made the three-mile-long trip from Kitty Hawk to Point Harbor.

Cover photo: Traffic was back on the eastbound span Thursday afternoon. (NCDOT)

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  • Runnerguy

    I thought it was reported that the bridge would be completed by the 14th at the latest ?

    Thursday, May 10 @ 6:28 pm
  • Sam Walker

    Sort of…NCDOT said in past the bridge would be reopened by May 14. The work they have left to do is all underneath the bridge. Everything topside is finished.

    Thursday, May 10 @ 8:09 pm
  • pilotbk

    Would be nice if they would fix the bridge from Nags Head to Manteo. Its like riding in an off road race course.

    Thursday, May 10 @ 8:02 pm
  • chaser

    Sounds horrible.

    Friday, May 11 @ 8:13 am
  • tim

    pilotbk, the WBM bridge was much worse and the simple solution before the repairs was simple, SLOW DOWN if you find it too bumpy.

    Friday, May 11 @ 10:06 am
  • Runnerguy

    Last night{Friday} they had closed the left hand turn lane that leads to the neighborhood behind OBX Chevrolet. This is going to get someone killed.
    I can’t tell you how dangerous it is without the left hand turn lane. These construction workers should not be given permission to leave lanes closed overnight.

    Saturday, May 12 @ 7:31 am
  • Manteoer

    What politican is related to the owners of the company that is doing the work. It looks like they are just selling snake oil to ncdot. The company need to be fined for every hour there are lanes closed after not meeting the completion dates. What a joke watching this go on at the currituck and Manns harbor bridge. They said it would make the Manns harbor bridge smoother. Well what about pirates cove bridge? It’s like being on a stage coach when crossing that one. It’s nothing more than selling g nc dot snake oil.

    Saturday, May 12 @ 7:48 am
  • Harold

    Seems like the headline should be, Eastbound Wright Memorial Bridge ALMOST reopens

    Saturday, May 12 @ 9:09 am
  • Frank Moore

    If proper engineering data and time requirements for this job were originally done by the consulting engineers and properly reviewed by NCDOT “BEFORE” any contract was signed I feel we would not be in this type of situation with the contractors engineers/contractor and NCDOT and their engineers. This is a nice group of folks. The excuse of weather conditions IS NOT an excuse apparently this time as is usually said to be reasons for continual failure for contractors to not meet deadlines and not penalized for days delayed as they should be. There are weather conditions which have to be considered and planned for, not only on the Outer Banks but everywhere, but this is done in the original bid documents, not later when “woops we have rain tonight so we have to stop all work and get our free extension of time” from NCDOT.

    We all figured that opening the bridge by May 14th didn’t mean that the bridge won’t really be open by this date because we will have to close lanes whenever on Mondays thru Thursdays to perform work that we apparently planned poorly for but we knew that would not be negative on us and would be approved because we have the bridge open, well sort of !!

    And while we are on the subject, Kill Devil Hills has a similar situation going on with the bike path on Bay Drive. The most recent excuse for not meeting time schedules is the amount of time and work required to install drain pipes. There are enough road cut drain pipes being installed that all along this new bike path the road should never have a pool of water stand again. I wonder did they not figure this out BEFORE signed contracts and work began ? There have been many days when weather was wonderful and not a grain of sand was moved and no shadow of workers in sight for days. Again, but on a lower level apparently Town Engineers failed to properly review the bids and now hold the contractor accountable.

    To close this out. there needs to be a much better job done by our public officials to not let our tax paid engineers and the contractors engineers and contractor off the hook as easily as they are around here. It appears that the mindset regarding these types of projects is “we will finish the job when we can and that will be soon enough and it won’t cost us a dime”.

    Sunday, May 13 @ 1:15 am