BEAUFORT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – A bridge connecting two cities in the east has been under construction for nearly two years and was already expected to be complete.
Two of four lanes have reopened on the bridge, called “number three” by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
NCDOT says the bridge that extends over US 17 Business and connects the town of Chocowinity with the city of Washington, failed a safety inspection.
Roy Denton has lived in the Chocowinity for six years and says it was an inconvenience for he and his wife when it was closed completely.
“You got where you wouldn’t make many trips, tried to consolidate them so you didn’t have to ride so much. I’m retired so i didn’t necessarily have to go to washington every day. My wife had retired but then she went back to work. Since it’s been reopened, she’s so much happier because she can come home for lunch” says Denton.
Construction began on the bridge initially as a regular upgrade to meet new bridge safety standards.
The NCDOT says once the bridge was near completion, it was discovered the concrete wearing surface and thickness were not to up to specification.
North Carolina House of Representative for the 79th District, Keith Kidwell, says he has been in communication with the district engineer to get the problem resolved.
“I told him I need to have the contractor and him in Raleigh, Tuesday or Wednesday of next week with a full report on when this bridge will be completed and how they are going to deal with the process. I also want to know what cost concessions are going to be made by the contractor to cover the anticipated increased maintenance in the near future” says Kidwell.
The NCDOT says the bridge is safe to use and the construction error only affects how long it will last in the future.
“It’s working out good now. When they get the outside lanes open it will be better but at least we can go across it” says Denton.
The NCDOT says they are searching to find a specialty subcontractor who will apply an overlay on the bridge.
They say drivers should use caution and follow work zone traffic signage and devices while traveling through the temporary pattern.