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Grant to fund bridge replacements

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BY LINDELL JOHN KAY
Staff Writer

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Eleven bridges in the Twin Counties will be replaced thanks to a $23 million federal transportation grant to fix dozens of bridges in rural communities in 17 of the state's most economically distressed counties.

Three bridges in Nash and eight in Edgecombe will replaced under the U.S. Department of Transportation BUILD grant. The overall cost of the replacements is projected at $119 million, with the State Highway Bridge Fund paying for 58 of the structures and the BUILD grant covering the cost of replacing 19 weight-restricted bridges that could not be replaced using state funds.

“These extra funds will allow North Carolina to replace key bridges in rural areas to help farmers, industry, schools and communities,” Gov. Roy Cooper said. “These bridges will be rebuilt better and smarter to include flood monitoring and create more opportunities to expand broadband in areas that need it most.”

The bridges included in the project serve communities with significant agriculture and agribusiness interests. Many of the bridges scheduled for replacement are weight-restricted, which limits use by large trucks that often serve the agriculture industry as well as buses that take students to school, said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.

“Good infrastructure is a critical lifeline for our rural communities and agriculture as ag products move from the field to consumers and overseas markets,” Troxler said. “Improving these bridges will help reduce costs for agricultural haulers, which will help our farmers save money and be more competitive.”

The new bridges will be constructed to include weather and flood monitors to help provide better data and warnings about potential hazards. The sensors will provide critical information regarding weather conditions around the bridges to FIMAN, North Carolina’s Flood Inundation and Alert Mapping Network, according to information provided by Andrew Barksdale, a public relations officer for NCDOT Division 4, which includes Nash and Edgecombe counties.

North Carolinians can sign up for alerts from FIMAN at fiman.nc.gov.

Each bridge replaced also will include conduit to allow for future expansion of broadband fiber, decreasing the cost to provide broadband service to rural and underserved areas.

Contracts to perform the bridge replacements will be awarded during the next two years and most projects will take less than a year to complete. The project will replace 77 bridges in Alexander, Allegheny, Beaufort, Duplin, Edgecombe, Halifax, Hyde, Iredell, Nash, Northhampton, Pitt, Sampson, Surry, Wayne, Wilkes, Wilson and Yadkin counties. Most of the bridges are more than 50 years old, including a 98-year-old bridge in Wilson County.

The three bridges in Nash County are on N.C. 33 over Interstate 95 with a cost of $8.7 million; S.R. 1510 over I-95 with a cost of $6.4 million; and S.R. 1403 over Gideon Swamp with a cost of $1.5 million.

The Edgecombe County bridges are at:

■ N.C. 111 and 122 over Town Creek for $3.5 million.

■ U.S. 258 over Town Creek for $3.6 million.

■ S.R. 1243 over Tar River for $2 million.

■ S.R. 1126 over Town Creek for $1.2 million.

■ N.C. 97 over Swift Creek for $3.5 million.

■ S.R. 1404 over Swift Creek for $2.1 million.

■ S.R. 1404 over Swift Creek for $2.1 million.

■ S.R. 1616 over Otter Creek for $2.3 million.

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