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Back You are here: Home Opinion Opinion Section Editorials Editorial: Planning For Bridge Project Should Have Included Summer Traffic

Editorial: Planning For Bridge Project Should Have Included Summer Traffic

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

It's a busy time for projects in Carolina Beach.
The Snow's Cut Bridge rehabilitation project has been of major concern to Town leaders who have lobbied the North Carolina Department of Transportation to ensure the bridge is returned to four-lane capacity before the busy Memorial Day Holiday weekend.
The bridge was reduced to two lanes earlier this year to allow the contractor, American Bridge, Co., to resurface and rehabilitate the road surface as one part of a larger project to extend the life of the bridge. Work is also taking place under the bridge to improve the 1960's ear bridge structure.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation has admitted the schedule planning for the project should have included some attention to increased summer traffic.
Due to various issues, the project started later than originally anticipated. First, the start date was as early as July 1, 2012. Then in July it was explained by an NCDOT official the project likely wouldn't start until after Labor Day 2012 and was scheduled for completion in 390 days after the start date. The project started in late October with lanes reduced from four to two. At that point someone should have identified an alternate plan of action in case of any delays in work with attention to our busy holiday weekends starting with Easter.
Understanding that logistics for a project of this size are extremely complex, the issue of public safety and economic impact should have been at the top of the checklist the entire duration of this project from day one. All four lanes are expected to be open this coming weekend. However, that's if no other delays are encountered and the weather holds out.
Keep in mind, Town leaders are not in charge of this project. While they have to field calls from angry business owners and residents, all they can do is call upon the NCDOT and hope for the best. (See report on page 1-A)