Local News

Many Local Bridges Overdue for Replacements

Posted December 28, 2006

— The span crossing Mango Swamp east of Dunn is a tired little bridge, graying and aching after 70 years of rubber hitting the road.

These days, it carries N.C. Highway 55 and its speedy flow of thousands of vehicles every day.

The bridge is supported by old-fashioned wood pilings. It, along with another old bridge nearby, was supposed to be replaced four years ago.

"It's very narrow and very scary, and it's worse in the winter when they don't pick up the snow and sleet through here,” driver Sonja Bustos said.

This year, AAA reports that more than 31 percent of North Carolina bridges need to be repaired or replaced—the highest number in the Southeast.

Every two years, the state conducts a safety analysis on every bridge in North Carolina. The top rating is 100. For the Mango Swamp bridge, the latest rating was six.

When asked if the bridges are safe, driver Robbie Walker said: “No, they're not safe. They're too narrow, and as you can see on the highway, it's busy all the time.”

The Mango Swamp bridge proved to be deadly last July, when a 45-year-old driver crashed into it. The Highway Patrol said it's not clear what caused the wreck.

State Department of Transportation officials said the Highway 55 bridges will be replaced in 2009 at a cost of more than $2.5 million. some drivers said that they will believe it when they see it.

"I've been hearing that for the last 10 years, almost,” Walker said.

DOT officials told WRAL that mapping out appropriate detours for the traffic-clogged road has been the cause of delays. They said, however, that all the holdups have been cleared.

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  • killerkestrel Jan 2, 2007

    One must remember that NC’s highway funding mostly comes from the gas tax, supplemented by other user fees and tax on vehicles. VA gets much of it’s highway funding from the general fund (income and sales taxes), while NC actually takes money from the gas tax and puts into the general fund. All around the USA, governments are facing a tough decision, to increase funding, or to neglect our transportation system. Of course the knee-jerk NC gas tax cap hurts our DOT funding so these deficient bridges don’t get replaced.

  • ahawkins629 Dec 29, 2006

    too update/refurbish the legislature rooms so our lawmakers can relax in comfort in thier leather chairs while figuring out how to spend all thier pac/campaign money!

  • They call me CATMAN Dec 28, 2006

    Hello What do you expect with this state run by liberal democrats for the last number of years and the number of people moving into the state. I know one thing tax's in this state are the higest in the southeast what are the tax's being used for?