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NCDOT gives Cape Fear Memorial Bridge preservation project update

Camille Mojica

Wednesday, the NCDOT held a press conference to provide updates on the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge project.

Even with a day missed due to rain, the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge Project is moving along on schedule. Still, there are very few leeway days built into the schedule, Trevor Carroll, Division Maintenance Engineer with NCDOT said.

"This is a very aggressive schedule. This is a very critical project. So we are pushing forward to meet our goals that we've set in the contract. And again, right now we're on schedule for that," he said.

Safety is staff’s main concern. Joshua Pratt, resident engineer for NCDOT, says working with a steel structure is very specialized work, making the bridge unique. They won’t rush the project to finish sooner than anticipated, but, there’s incentive for contractors to finish on time, Pratt said.

“And there's a $5,000 a day penalty on that. In addition, we have incentives if they finish on time, the entire project, so there's half a million dollars," Pratt said. "So, you know, they control their means and methods, but we have incentives in place for them to finish on time.”

Commuters forced to take alternate routes from headed east into New Hanover County saw up to an hour increase in travel time due to traffic in the first two days after the lane closures. Now, Carroll says, they’ve monitored times to be down to about 20 extra minutes, due to commuters adjusting their own travel plans.

NCDOT has also made some adjustments of its own. Traffic patterns onto the Isabel Holmes bridge have been shifted — and the Castle Hayne exit off of I-140 in northern New Hanover County now has “maximum green time” at its traffic light to keep the flow of traffic moving through town.

Camille hails from Long Island, NY and graduated from Boston University with a BS in Journalism and double minors in Classical Civilizations and Philosophy. Her story focus revolves her deep care for children, young adults and mental health. You can reach her at cmojica@whqr.org.