More than 80 bridges to be replaced in five Triad counties
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REIDSVILLE - The state Department of Transportation is in the early stages of replacing more than 80 bridges in five Triad counties. The bridges are considered structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
The bridges are scattered throughout NCDOT Division 7's five counties, which include Guilford, Alamance, Orange, Caswell and Rockingham. The agency said in most cases replacing them makes good financial sense.
"A lot of these bridges are structurally deficient,” said bridge program manager Tim Powers. “Mainly, there's components in the bridges that are worn out. It's going to keep costing more and more to replace these and repair these bridges."
Many of the bridges are simply obsolete.
"We selected these bridges because of mostly their load posted rate,” said Powers. “It's been my deciding factor. Can we get a school bus across this bridge or can we get an ambulance or fire truck across it? Those are essential services that citizens need.
The bridge on Irvin Farm Road over Troublesome Creek is a good example of a structure whose posted weight limit is too low.
"This bridge here is 14 tons and that's not legal for a full-sized school bus," Powers said.
Seven of the bridges including this one will be replaced with concrete pipes or culverts.
"Which is actually a better structure than a bridge,” said Powers. “That culvert could last up to a hundred years virtually maintenance free except for vegetation control."
Three of the bridges already have been replaced. Powers said construction on the remaining bridges will wrap up in 2014. He estimated the current cost of replacing the bridges was about $35 million and said it would be money well spent.
"(It's) an awesome opportunity to upgrade our bridges and make them safer," he said.