State says final work on troubled Chocowinity bridge to begin this week

CHOCOWINITY, N.C. (WITN) – Final work on the preservation of a bridge on U.S. 17 business in Beaufort County is expected to resume on Wednesday.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation said Tuesday that materials are now available to complete the long-awaited work on the bridge.

Work on the bridge began over three years ago, but it failed a safety inspection after discovering that the concrete wearing surface and thickness were not up to specifications, causing the anticipated completion date to change.

Officials said that the project was scheduled to be completed in mid-December, but that material shortages further delayed the final work last year, pushing completion into 2024.

Republican State Representative Keith Kidwell said in December that he believes the contractor is at fault for the delay. “I think what may’ve happened here is that we got a contractor, and this is their first bridge that they’ve built. I’ve got to understand from somebody why we’re using a rookie contractor. We’re going to be investigating this and I’ll come back with results.”

Officials say that the contractor handling the work will shift the flow of traffic into a two-lane, two-way traffic pattern on the northbound side of the bridge at 8 a.m. on Wednesday to allow workers to work on the bridge joints on the southbound side of the bridge.

Once work is completed on the southbound side, crews will shift the lanes to allow for work on the northbound side of the bridge.

Officials say that the work is anticipated to take several weeks and that once the work on the bridge joints is completed on both sides final pavement markings will be painted once temperatures allow.