Local News

Apex drivers, leaders worried about railroad bridge

Posted November 21, 2008

The CSX railroad bridge straddles N.C. Highway 55 and carries about a half dozen trains a day. Roughly 25,000 vehicles pass underneath daily.
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— Drivers and town leaders in Apex are raising concerns about a bridge that appears to be shedding concrete.

The CSX railroad bridge straddles N.C. Highway 55 and carries about a half dozen trains a day. Roughly 25,000 vehicles pass underneath daily.

Tim Donnelly, Apex public works director noted in an internal memo, "The bridge negatively impacts our citizens and clearly the traffic flow and safety of N.C. 55."

If drivers look up, they can see cracked concrete and gaping holes. Steel wiring is exposed. The bridge supports bear the marks where trucks have hit it.

Apex officials have asked the state Department of Transportation to inspect the bridge because it has visible rebar.

Don Idol, assistant state bridge inspector, said there is not much the DOT can do.

"The railroad actually owns the bridge. DOT does not own the bridge," he pointed out.

DOT inspectors check the railroad bridge every two years. The last inspection was March 2007. They look at the bridge's clearance, not the condition. To do so, Idol said, would be trespassing.

A CSX representative told WRAL News on Friday that the bridge's steel girders are strong as ever. The concrete, he said, is primarily cosmetic.

The DOT and drivers disagree.

"From a safety standpoint, something falling off, a piece of concrete falling off would probably be one of the more serious risks," Idol said.

That's just what concerns Kim Smalls. "If you're stopped under there if a train comes by, you never know with the weight and the cracking will do," she said.

"It's not cosmetic when it hits my car and damages my car and causes an accident under the bridge," she said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Maple Walnut Ice Cream Nov 25, 2008

    There is probably nothing wrong with this bridge structurally, but everyone knows it is the choke point on 55. When the peakway is completed next year, it may be a non-issue for awhile. It will come back when the population increases. Whats going to be the new choke point is the walmart by US 1 and 55. You think that area is a mess now. Just wait.

  • superman Nov 21, 2008

    Where was he when they had the chemical fire in Apex. The town didnt even know they were there-- much less how to fight the fight. They played their fiddle while the building burned.

  • nandud Nov 21, 2008

    Even if they take the bridge, they can't widen 55 through Apex. There are businesses, and the middle school is right there, too. Where are you going to put extra lanes? It's time to build the outer loop around Apex instead of worrying about widening 55.

  • cwb098 Nov 21, 2008

    So why doesn't the state use iminent domain to take the bridge. They would do it if it was a private citizens bridge

  • Nunya123 Nov 21, 2008

    This bridge is the last remaining bottle neck on 55 in either direction. It is the biggest inconvenience that half dozen trains a day delays more than 25000 drivers because the road has to go down to 2 lanes to go under it and there is nothing the DOT can do about it and nothing CTX wants to do about it.