Monday, April 15, 2024

NCDOT: Month-long bridge lane closure near Battleship will not impact CFMB congestion

BRUNSWICK COUNTY — The North Carolina Department of Transportation has begun overnight closures on a Brunswick County bridge on U.S. Highway 74, one of the routes leading to the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge as it undergoes repairs.

READ MORE: CF Memorial Bridge repair work off to rainy start, delayed due to weather

Crews have to replace a guardrail on a bridge that drivers take as a detour to Isabel Holmes Bridge during the preservation project. The U.S. Highway 74 bridge, located near the Battleship North Carolina, will be under construction for 30 days.

This comes after NCDOT said it would pause all non-emergency road work on the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge’s surrounding roads, as it undergoes repairs, with eastbound lanes into Wilmington closed until the end of March. In December, NCDOT paused repaving on 1-140 in Brunswick County, originally scheduled for early January, to further reduce congestion during the preservation project.

NCDOT spokesperson Lauren Haviland said work on the bridge near the battleship would have a low-traffic impact, which is why repairs are scheduled at the same time.  

“NCDOT doesn’t have to impact traffic again that is already being impacted due to the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge preservation project,” Haviland said.

Haviland explained that because there is only traffic in one direction due to the preservation project, the work being done on the Brunswick bridge is safer for crews and drivers.

Only the left lane of the bridge will be closed. Work started Sunday, and according to NCDOT, will continue Sunday through Friday, 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., until March 29.

Crews will be replacing an outdated guardrail system with a cement wall. The right lane will remain open at all times.

“The current rail system doesn’t meet our standards,” Haviland said. “The concrete wall not only meets our standards, but it also shouldn’t need to be repaired after every incident due to its durability.”

Traffic has been a concern for drivers impacted by the eastbound lane closure on the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, redirecting them to other routes leading into Wilmington. Drivers must cross the bridge at U.S. Highway 17 to reach Isabel Holmes Bridge as a detour route.

Beginning Jan. 31, crews working on the preservation project are replacing the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge’s grid deck and stringers. It is expected to wrap by the end of May, pausing on March 31 to accommodate Azalea Festival traffic and switch lane closures to the eastbound lane. 

During this process, incoming Wilmington traffic is detoured to the Isabel Holmes Bridge or U.S. Highway 421, but Haviland reiterated the Brunswick bridge closure shouldn’t affect the traffic pattern.

In a press release announcing Sunday’s lane closure, NCDOT said this work is “imperative while the eastbound lanes of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge are closed for preservation work.”

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