The twin span Wrght Memorial Bridge.

As the summer season gets closer and closer, work on the eastbound span of the Wright Memorial Bridge is wrapping up and should be done by the scheduled completion date of May 14 or maybe a bit earlier.

While the bridge has been closed, what is normally the west bound bridge has been handling incoming and outgoing traffic as a two lane highway.

There had been some concern that the unusually harsh Outer Banks weather of January and March would slow construction down, but with the announcement from NCDOT it appears that work crews have managed to keep things moving along.

According to NCDOT the repairs and renovations being made to the bridge won’t be immediately apparent to drivers but it’s work that is critical to maintaining the bridge.

The eastbound bridge was opened in 1966 and although it was never unsafe to use, its sufficiency rating had slipped to poor.

The road has been resurfaced; it was a necessary repair even though in daily use the road did not seem particularly worn.

However, the repairs that were most important were to the support structure of the bridge—the bents and pilings that support the road. 

Concrete that had deteriorated or disappeared from the substructure over the years was repaired or replaced as were damaged  or weathered railings.

The project cost was $21 million and NCDOT views the money as funds well spent. The bridge is considered one of the most important spans in the state and refurbishing the bridge is part of a series of ongoing projects designed to prolong the life of some of the state’s more important bridges.