As teachers and students return to school later this month, the NC Department of Transportation reminds residents in Nash County of a closure south of Spring Hope that may impact commutes for the first few weeks of the school year.
The DOT closed down a section of Southern Nash High Road between N.C. 97 and Fire Tower Road on June 15 to allow crews with Sanford Contractors Inc. to replace the 57-year-old bridge over Toisnot Swamp. The bridge replacement is on schedule to be complete in mid-September.
Crews began the project in June so that most of the construction would take place during the school’s summer break with minimal impact to traffic. However, since it takes several months to replace a bridge, there will be a few weeks of overlap between the time school starts on Aug. 24 and the bridge reopens in mid-September.
The DOT reminds drivers to use N.C. 97, N.C. 581 and Fire Tower Road as a detour route when traveling to and from the Southern Nash High School.
The bridge being replaced is classified as structurally deficient and functionally obsolete. This means that while the bridge remains safe, it requires repairs and was built to design standards no longer used for bridges. It needs to be replaced to meet current design standards and future traffic demands. NCDOT posted a weight limit restricting single-axle vehicles weighing more than 12 tons and trucks weighing more than 21 tons from using the bridge. The new bridge will not have posted weight limits. This replacement is part of NCDOT’s overall bridge program to improve the condition of the state’s bridges.
An $8 million design-build contract was awarded to Sanford Contractors Inc. for this project. The contract also included the replacement of one bridge in Halifax County, as well as seven other bridges in Nash County. All replacements under this contract are scheduled for completion by October 2016, weather permitting.