Crews make progress on Oak Island second bridge; Davis Canal bridge to re-open soon

-A A +A
By Staff Brunswick Beacon

It first appeared on the state’s transportation improvement program in December 1986. Now, 22 years later, the second Oak Island Bridge is not just a proposal—it’s a reality.

The bridge, now under construction, is slated for completion in December 2009. Now the contractors are working on the bridge’s sub-structure.

On the island side, the first two bents are constructed. The bents are part of the bridge’s sub-structure that encompass the foundation, column and cap. The contractor plans to pour the caps for the first two bents in the coming weeks.

On the waterway side, the first bent is started and crews are working on the roadway from the waterway to the intersection of N.C. 211 and Midway. The aggregate base course, eight inches of rock mixed with water, is poured and packed. It is being graded. After it is packed and graded, three layers of asphalt will be poured on top to make the road.

When complete, the 3-mile long stretch of roadway from the waterway will intersect with N.C. 211. Traffic signals are planned for the roadway at N.C. 211 and at Middleton Drive on Oak Island.

“The contractor thinks that he will be ready to start setting girders in August of this year,” project engineer Mark Blalock said. “Of course, that’s not set in stone. A lot of that depends on the weather.”

The lack of rain has helped with the progress of the bridge. The bridge is currently 37 percent ahead of schedule.

“It’ll be on up into next summer sometime before he gets a substantial portion of that bridge completed,” Blalock said.

However, another bridge on Oak Island, the Davis Canal Bridge at Middleton, is scheduled to re-open in mid-May.

“That project is 99 percent completed,” Blalock said. “I don’t anticipate anything keeping them from meeting that goal.”

The contractors still need to pave from Pelican Drive to Ocean Drive, but Department of Transportation engineers expect that will be finished in the coming weeks.

The Davis Canal Bridge was part of the contract with Barnhill. According to the contract with the state, the Davis Canal Bridge had to be completed this year.

“After the Davis Canal Bridge is finished, this bridge will start going a lot faster. Right now, the contractor had to split his time between the two projects,” Blalock said.

RENEE SLOAN is a staff writer and page designer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or rsloan@brunswickbeacon.com.