- Special Sections
- Public Notices
North Carolina Transportation Secretary Lyndo Tippett has approved awarding a $31 million contract to replace the Intracoastal Waterway bridge in Sunset Beach to English Construction Co. of Lynchburg, Va., according to information released Thursday.
The award comes three months after residents opposing a high-rise bridge filed a federal lawsuit, which stopped the North Carolina Department of Transportation from awarding the $30.9 million contract to build a 65-foot-tall bridge to replace the town's aging pontoon span connecting its mainland and island.
The department subsequently delegated authority to Tippett to award the contract at its October meeting. In late December, a federal judge in Raleigh denied a preliminary motion for an injunction by the opposing groups, the Sunset Beach Taxpayers Association and the Brunswick Environmental Action Team.
The contract calls for replacing the existing 50-year-old, one-lane bridge with a new, half-mile-long fixed high-rise span. The new bridge will include two 12-foot-wide travel lanes, along with 5-foot-wide shoulders for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Plans include resurfacing the approach on the south end of the bridge to match the new lane width and constructing a new approach from N.C. 179 to the north end of the bridge. East Shoreline Drive will be shifted slightly north to align with the new approach and widened to include turn lanes. The total project length, including the new bridge and approach work, is slightly more than a mile, according to the NCDOT press release.
Once construction is completed, motorists traveling south on Sunset Boulevard toward the Sunset Beach island will turn right at the intersection at East Shoreline Drive and continue over the new bridge back to Sunset Boulevard.
Motorists will continue to use the existing bridge until the new bridge is in place. Travelers will be redirected onto a detour road running parallel to Sunset Boulevard while approach work is under way south of the bridge site.