Construction of the New Sunset Beach, NC, Bridge

Jo O'Keefe Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved

English Construction Company, Inc., Lynchburg, Virginia

Page 10

The new Sunset Beach Bridge will open completed before the full project is completed. As of September 3, if there are no complications, the bridge should open to vehicular traffic between the first and third week of October 2010. Dedication will be held at 4 PM on October 1. After the bridge has been opened to traffic, the detour, the work bridge and the old bridge will be removed. Causeway changes will be made. There already is more marsh than there was with the original causeway. Still more will develop when an additional portion of the old causeway is removed. Catch basins on the island and mainland ends will capture run-off from the bridge to prevent chemicals in it from polluting the water.

Many persons are asking how much the new bridge cost. Having fought hard for the new bridge, I cannot mention its cost without also mentioning the reason why it is so expensive. Through a series of lawsuits, bridge opponents delayed construction of the high-rise bridge for a quarter of a century. The initial estimated cost was $5.2 million. The $31.9 million bid from English Construction Company in 2007 was $26.7 million higher, a cost shouldered by taxpayers.

English Construction Company has been on-site since February 2008. They will remain through at least December 2010. The costs of that labor, along with machinery and construction materials, are included in the $31.9 million cost of the new Sunset Beach Bridge.

June 4, 2010: History was made today as the final girders of the new bridge were put into place.
Lowering first of the four final girders, with old Sunset Beach Pontoon Bridge open for boat traffic
   
Positioning the first of the four final girders that will close the last gap of the span. Two brave men stood alongside the girder to guide it into position.
   
After the first of the four final girders is in place, a worker walks across it.
Expanse of the new Sunset Beach Bridge crossing the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway
 
June 7, 2010
Waterway span with final four girders in place
 
Final four girders