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Detours around drawbridge work site add time, scenery to Outer Banks trips

Posted March 30, 2013
Updated April 2, 2013

The DOT has drawn detours around the planned work on the Alligator River bridge.
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— A major bridge to the Outer Banks will close Tuesday for repairs. Actually, the Lindsay C. Warren Bridge that carries traffic on U.S. Highway 64 across the Alligator Bridge will be open. But in that position the swinging drawbridge won't be available to take visitors to Stumpy Point or Manteo.

The bridge is due for a $500,000 boost. 

"Similar to jacking up your car, we're going to raise the bridge up 10 inches, then remove the center pivot assembly," said Pablo Hernandez. He is a resident engineer for the North Carolina Department of Transportation. His crew will then replace the pivot along with balance wheels, gears and shafts.

Work is due to begin at midnight Monday and finish by noon on April 14.

Construction worker James Williams, who lives just down the road from the bridge, welcomes the work but not the hassle of a 30-mile detour.


View Alligator River bridge detour in a larger map

A northern route guides drivers from Williamston north on U.S. Highway 13 to U.S. Highway 17, then turns back south at U.S. Highway 158 east of Elizabeth City. The DOT said that detour adds about 30 minutes.

A detour to the south takes drivers from Columbia through Mattamuskeet National Refuge on N.C. Highway 94, then east and north on U.S. Highway 264, an estimated 60-minute drive.

When the bridge is out, Williams said, "It's traffic backed up everywhere."

Drawbridge repairs on Outer Banks Drawbridge repairs cause Outer Banks detours

Bridgekeeper Nick Nicholson will remain on the job. While vehicles will have to detour around the area, boats along the Intra-coastal Waterway will still be able to pass.

For every hour the bridge is closed past the April 14 deadline, the contractor will lose $300; if the bridge re-opens before that time, the contractor gets an additional $300.

17 Comments

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  • btneast Apr 2, 2013

    "There's been a temp bridge out there for several years now. Get out much?"

    That bridge is on Hwy 12. It is a much shorter bridge than the one that crosses the Alligator River.

    That's the understatement of the day. I'd say it was longer than 1 mile....and it spans the ICW,so unless there is a such thing as a temporary draw bridge, it would not be feasible.

  • rocket Apr 2, 2013

    "There's been a temp bridge out there for several years now. Get out much?"

    That bridge is on Hwy 12. It is a much shorter bridge than the one that crosses the Alligator River.

  • WralCensorsAreBias Apr 2, 2013

    "A temporary bridge would be a joke!!"

    There's been a temp bridge out there for several years now. Get out much?

  • GravyPig Apr 2, 2013

    "Temporary is temporary!! A temporary bridge would be a joke!!"

    I know! I though it was funny too.

    Too bad that guy was being serious.

  • baldchip Apr 2, 2013

    A quicker way to the south would envolve picking up US 264 in Zebulon. That goes thru Greenville, Washington, Bellhaven, and on to Manteo. That seems far easier than going all the way to Columbia, then south and back north.

    They had a clip about this closure on the news last night. The swinging span will be left in the open position so boat traffic can proceed on down the ICW!! Matter of fact, the bridge tender will still be on duty. He seems to be friends with many of the captains traversing the ICW!!

    Temporary is temporary!! A temporary bridge would be a joke!!

  • rocket Apr 2, 2013

    "I don't understand why our state doesn't bring in temporary bridges like the military uses for sites like this along the coast."

    I don't think you understand how long this bridge is. It's over a mile at least.

  • WralCensorsAreBias Apr 2, 2013

    "why did DOT wait until after Easter to do this work? "

    Why would they do that, that would've made too much sense. Instead, they'll have business owners loose much cents. $200 says it's not finished on time!

  • GravyPig Apr 2, 2013

    You guys have some interesting ideas in how bridge repair works.

    "I don't understand why our state doesn't bring in temporary bridges like the military uses for sites like this along the coast.

    After evacuation, they could be moved to a safer location too, and then put back in place once the storm passes.

    They're really quite sturdy and stable; the military uses them for moving some very heavy equipment - tanks, fully loaded 18-wheelers, etc., and are far less expensive than rebuilding permanent bridges over and over and over again."

    ROFL!! So you propose they use temporary bridges as permanent bridges but they pull them out when a storm comes? *snicker* you do realize that temporary bridges are just that.. .. Temporary.

  • UpChuck Apr 2, 2013

    "Judging by the maps, it would appear that the boats will have to take the detour and drive on land around the bridge."

    Outstanding.

  • Tunaboy Apr 2, 2013

    why did DOT wait until after Easter to do this work? The boat and auto traffic was very low between Christmas and March which would have been a far better window to fix the bridge than now when beach goers are coming back.

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