DOT plans to replace US 13 bridges

Published 8:35 am Tuesday, September 22, 2009

AHOSKIE – While a construction timetable has yet to be developed, the North Carolina Department of Transportation has announced plans to replace two bridges spanning the Ahoskie Creek on US 13 South.

In a press release, DOT said it proposes to replace bridges No. 12 and No. 25 located on US 13 about one-quarter mile north of Cemetery Road (SR 1420) between Powellsville and Ahoskie. The $3 million project will be 100 percent funded with Federal Recovery and Reinvestment Act money.

“These bridges were on our TIP (Transportation Improvement Plan) to be replaced,” said NCDOT Division I Maintenance Engineer Sterling Baker. “However, those plans were about seven to eight years out. We were able to move this to a design-build project and because of that it qualified and received the federal stimulus funding.”

Both bridges were constructed in 1934 and are reaching the end of their service life. They carry an estimated 7,000 vehicle per day.

Bridge No. 12, currently a 120-foot span that crosses the main body of the Ahoskie Creek, is deemed structurally deficient and functionally obsolete.

Bridge No. 25, a 70-foot span that carries traffic over the Ahoskie Creek overflow area, is also functionally obsolete.

DOT officials noted that a bridge is structurally deficient when it has elements that need to be monitored and/or repaired. It does not mean that the bridge is unsafe, but the bridge must be monitored, inspected and either repaired or replaced at an appropriate time to maintain its structural integrity. A bridge is functionally obsolete when its layout no longer meets current design standards for width, shoulders and rails.

Both bridges are in a FEMA regulated flood hazard zone. As such, the two new structures will be designed to meet all applicable FEMA requirements.

NCDOT will be using a design-build process that allows it to contract a team to design and construct the project at the same time. The use of this design-build team approach means that projects can begin sooner and be completed faster as compared to current practices.

During construction, U.S. 13 will be closed to through traffic. Traffic will be rerouted onto Center Grove Road (S.R. 1235) and Jernigan Swamp Road (S.R. 1238), changing to Lee Jernigan Road (S.R. 1101) in Hertford County. This detour is about seven miles in length. Truck traffic will be encouraged to use NC 11 to NC 305 as the preferred detour route.

DOT has already advertised and received statements of qualifications from at least three design-build teams. According to the DOT website, technical proposals and sealed price proposals are due from the teams by Oct. 6. The project contract is scheduled to be awarded on Nov. 5.

Once the contract is signed, local citizens along with local towns/counties will be notified of the construction schedule as it will be advertised through the local media.

In the meantime, NCDOT is seeking comments regarding the proposed replacement of the two bridges.

Citizens can contact NCDOT Division 1 Maintenance Engineer Sterling Baker at (252) 482-7977 for comments or more information about the project. Citizens may also write, referencing State Transportation Improvement Program project number B-5018, to:

Sterling Baker

NCDOT Division 1 Maintenance Engineer

113 Airport Road

Suite 100

Edenton, NC 27932