OAK ISLAND — Oak Islanders can travel over the Barbee Bridge earlier than expected.
At noon Friday, the North Carolina Department of Transportation will reopen the bridge after about six months of work.
Related: Oak Island bridge to close for several months starting next week reducing access to only one bridge
The department began working on Oak Island’s eastern bridge in October. Crews replaced girders on 28 spans, installed a new riding deck, a two-bar metal barrier rail, and conducted concrete repairs under the bridge, according to an earlier press release from the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT).
The months-long project was first planned to begin in June 2018, but was delayed until October 2018. First awarded $15.8 million to complete the project, NCDOT’s contractor, Sloan Construction, wrapped up ahead of schedule. NCDOT’s contract with Sloan Construction included a $150,000 incentive clause to open the bridge before April 15, plus $5,000 a day for each day open ahead of schedule.
Crews will continue to conduct work on the structure and bridge railing, but will be open to vehicle traffic. Pedestrian access will remain closed for the time being, according to an NCDOT release Friday.
At 47-years-old, the Barbee Bridge had deteriorated because of its coastal surroundings, according to the department. Barbee Bridge’s life has now been extended by about 30 years.
“Even with all of the inclement weather North Carolina experienced over the past six months, we are very pleased crews were able to get the bridge open to traffic ahead of schedule,” NCDOT’s Division Engineer, Karen Collette, said. “We can’t thank everyone in Oak Island enough for being patient during this time.”
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