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Bridge re-opening delayed on N.C. 179

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By Laura Lewis, Reporter

Detour-takers will have to keep detouring down Hale Swamp Road for about another month since bridge replacement work on N.C. 179 has not been finished.

Replacement of the span and roadwork that began last November was scheduled for completion May 15, but the work has not been finished, Wardell Brown, a project inspector for the North Carolina Department of Transportation, said at the site Tuesday morning.

Brown said “nothing in particular” has led to the delay that is estimated to take about another month.

Though the structure itself has been completed, he said bridge railings still need to be added and dirt mounds need to be spread out before the road can re-open.

“I think in a month we’ll be done, but we’ve got to get [subcontractors] motivated,” Brown said.

The section of the heavily traveled two-lane route between Shallotte and Ocean Isle Beach was closed Nov. 24 to make way for bridge replacement and roadwork between Brookhollow Drive and Jennies Branch Baptist Church.

Signs on either side of the bridge have been directing motorists to a detour onto Hale Swamp Road.

The estimated $2 million project called for replacement of the 40-year-old, two-lane bridge near Brick Landing Golf Course that had been deemed structurally deficient.

The new bridge is longer than the old one, according to NCDOT project engineer David Candela. As the bridge has been extended, work also has included removal of a causeway that will be more accommodating to the marshy wetlands area the bridge traverses, Candela said.

The overall project covers about a two-tenths-mile-long area.

Residents who live in the area, such as those at Brick Landing Plantation, still have access to their homes but have to take Hale Swamp Road or other detours while the section of N.C. 179 is closed.

NCDOT has contracted with T.A. Loving Co. of Swansboro for construction of the bridge project.