Update, Monday, 5:00 p.m. – After heavy rains prevented NCDOT inspectors from clearing the Lords Creek Bridge on River Road on Thursday, a rescheduled inspection has approved the bridge, according to Spokesman Brian Rick. River Road will now reopen along its entire route from Snows Cut to the Greenfield Lake area for the first time in months.
WILMINGTON—Months after it was first closed, the North Carolina Department of Transportation will inspect River Road construction and repairs and determine if it can reopen.
READ MORE: Here’s the deal on River Road closures
According to Spokesman Brian Rick, the NCDOT will do a “walkthrough” on Thursday, May 31, along the entire footprint of the River Road repairs. The walkthrough serves as the final opportunity for NCDOT inspectors to voice any concerns about the roadway and bridge work along the road.
If the walkthrough doesn’t turn up any issues, Rick said River Road should open within a day or two; but there are no guarantees.
“It’s like the walkthrough a homeowner does before closing,” Rick said. “It’s the final opportunity to inspect everything before you own it… but it’s really not a done deal until the walkthrough’s done.”
River Road’s new path was negotiated with RiverLights developers prior to the voluntary annexation in 2009. Developers paid the city $2.75 million to move about 2 miles of roadway inland as part of an agreement negotiated in part by attorney Michael Lee, allowing RiverLights to be developed along the bank of the Cape Fear River.
River Road was initially closed to disconnect it from its old route. Then, in November of 2017, the road was closed to replace the aging Lords Creek bridge; several months later, in January, the road was closed further north when another bridge–this time a newly constructed one commissioned by RiverLights–showed cracked in its concrete.
According to Jim Henry, vice president of operations for RiverLights, the new bridge work was being done by Sanford Contractors. The bridge has since reopened. Chris Brown, an engineer and assistant vice president of bridge construction for Sanford Contractors, did not return calls or emails about the delay.
Rick said that heavy rain over the last two months may have contributed to pushing back the completion date for both the RiverLights and Lords Creek bridges.
Send comments and tips to Benjamin Schachtman at firstname.lastname@example.org, @pcdben on Twitter, and (910) 538-2001