May 28, 2015

Bonner Bridge repairs almost completed


Repairs to the concrete along the underside and to the steel crutch bents on the Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet are on schedule to be completed by mid-June, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

The bridge has remained open to traffic during these projects. However, lane closures have been in place Monday through Friday during daylight hours and portable traffic signals and/or flag crews have been used to control traffic. There have been no lane closures on weekends.

Jennifer Heiss, communications officer with NCDOT, said this week that crews have completed replacing loose and deteriorated concrete with shotcrete on the south side of the bridge. The work has been weather-dependent since shotcrete cannot be place unless temperatures are above 40 degrees.

"During the colder months earlier this year, crews removed loose and deteriorated concrete from areas on the north end of the bridge," Heiss said in an e-mail. "Now that the weather is warmer and we have more daylight hours, crews have moved back to the north side of the bridge to place shotcrete on the areas where they removed the old concrete a few months ago."

They are currently working up the north side of the high rise, she said, and the work should be completed in early to mid-June.

Precon Marine Inc. of Chesapeake, Va., is doing the work as part of a $331,250 contract awarded in December. The contract calls for repairs at approximately 249 locations identified as priority areas during the most recent regular two-year inspection of the bridge in May of last year.

In addition to the concrete repair work, an $889,401 contract was also awarded last December to Smith-Rowe LLC of Mount Airy for repairs to the steel crutch bents currently in place from bent 108 through 114.

The steel crutch bents were installed in 1989 and after years of being exposed to the elements, needed to be replaced. Work involves removing the upper portion of each steel crutch bent from under the bridge deck to just below the water surface. New steel crutch bents are then be bolted into place.

Heiss said that because this work involves drilling holes into the existing steel about 4 feet under water, crews on the project have had to contend with currents, as well as wakes from nearby boats.

"Even with dealing with these conditions, the contractor is still on schedule," she said.

Five of the seven crutch bents are 100 percent complete at this time, she said, and crews are currently working on the remaining two. They also should be finished in early to mid-June.

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