EMERALD ISLE — The long-delayed repair and improvement work on the high-rise bridge to the western Carteret County mainland is expected to start soon, according to Town Manager Matt Zapp.
In an email Monday, he said the work, which originally scheduled to begin in September, is now set to begin “in early November.” Lane closures are expected to begin this weekend and last through spring 2021, with occasional breaks for holidays.
The work was delayed as in indirect result of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic hurt tourism dramatically in the early spring of this year, so the town asked the N.C. Department of Transportation to delay the lane closures necessary for the bridge work in order to not hinder fall tourism and help merchants.
Traffic into and out of town has slowed down significantly, so NCDOT is ready to proceed, Mr. Zapp said.
The project is intended to extend the life of the bridge, which opened in 1971. The town has opposed widening it.
Mr. Zapp urged motorists to plan ahead when driving into town from the west or leaving heading east on Highway 58 because there will be lane closures that will sometimes cause significant delays.
Once crews begin, Mr. Zapp said, weekday closures can occur between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday closures can take place between 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
The closures are anticipated to take place beginning Saturday through Thursday, Nov. 19, then there will be a break for Thanksgiving. After the holiday, the single-lane closures will resume Monday, Nov. 30 and continue through Dec. 17.
Following the Christmas and New Year's holidays, single-lane closures will resume once more and continue through March of 2021.
As with any large scale construction project, schedules are subject to change, Mr. Zap said
For real-time travel information, visit DriveNC.gov or follow NCDOT on social media.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.