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DOT to Replace Dangerous Bridge in Johnston County

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CLEVELAND — A Johnston County bridge with a dangerous history will soon be replaced, but a plan to keep traffic flowing during construction has some people who live near the bridge very upset.

Drivers rarely slow down at the narrow Raleigh Road Bridge over Middle Creek in Johnston County. They seem to ignore the dangerous history of the bridge.

The deadliest day was February 3, 1998.Three children diedwhen a woman lost control in the curve and landed in the creek. A small memorial still honors the children who died here almost two years ago.

Both theDepartment Of Transportationand the neighbors want a safer bridge, they just disagree on how to accomplish that goal.

Phil Johnson lives next to the bridge. He says the coming construction project is another accident waiting to happen.

"We've got an unsafe bridge," Johnson says. "It's in a curve, and because of that, whenever you have construction in an unsafe area, it just adds danger to the current situation. So we're concerned. We don't know why they didn't close the bridge."

Johnson showed WRAL a letter that he says proves the DOT backed out of a promise to close the bridge during construction. DOT board member Durwood Stephenson says there was never such a promise, but that the workzone will be clearly marked.

Stephenson does promise a safer bridge after construction, though.

"We would do anything if we could go back and have that bridge replaced prior to losing the two Hall children and Ryan Moss, the young boy," Stephenson says. "But we can't. But we can hopefully prevent it from happening again, and that is with a new bridge. And that's what we're going to do."

The surveyors are almost finished. Construction should start next week and will take at least a year. The new bridge will cost $700,000.


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