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English Eyes Bridge Completion Before the Sun Sets on Summer

Wed May 19, 2010 - Southeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero

A new bridge is steadily growing in Sunset Beach, N.C., to replace the one that has been in use since the 1960s.

The contract for $31 million was awarded by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to English Construction Company, Lynchburg, Va. Funding is coming from the federal government.

Work began on Feb. 19, 2008, and an estimated completion date has been set for Dec. 14, 2010. However, hopes are that the new bridge will be open to traffic by the end of the summer.

The contract calls for the construction of the bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway and the approaches on SR 1172 at Sunset Beach. The bridge replaces the current single-lane platoon bridge.

According to David Byrd, assistant resident engineer for NCDOT, challenges with the project have included the logistics of constructing the bridge over the waterway, working within environmental permits and navigational waterway restrictions. As of April 30, the job was running 4.89 percent behind the progress schedule.

“I believe this is only the second bridge in the state with post-tensioned prestressed concrete girders,” Byrd said. “The pre-stressed concrete girders over the waterway have ducts inside them. Steel strands or wires are pressed through the ducts, then stressed to predetermined load. Grout is placed inside the ducts to seal the permanently stressed tendons. This procedure produces a camber in the girders.”

Construction will eventually necessitate partial-day closures of the waterway at the site, which will be coordinated with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Contract quantities include 7,930 linear ft. (2,417 m) of steel piles, 89,918 sq. ft. (8,352 sq m) of reinforced concrete deck slab, 3,471.6 cu. yds. (2,654.2 cu m) of class AA concrete for the bridge, approximately 41,000 lbs. (18,597 kg) of structural steel, 1.5 million lbs. (683,701 kg) of epoxy coated reinforcing steel for the bridge, 2.9 acres (1.2 ha) of wetland grass planting, and 10,946 tons (9,930 t) of asphalt pavement.

During the project, NCDOT has six to eight employees on the job, and English Construction Company has another 30.

Major subcontractors include Barnhill Construction, Tarboro, N.C., for grading and paving; Lineberry Inc., Climax, N.C., for seeding and mulching; and Boss Construction Co. Inc., Mocksville, N.C., for the bridge parapet wall.

Equipment includes a Terex 60-ton (54.4 t) crane, a Terex American 100-ton (90.7 t) crane, an American 2310 ringhorse crane with barge, a Bidwell concrete screed, and a John Deere 710 backhoe with jackhammer.

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