By Greg Hince
July 3, 2012. N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Gene Conti has awarded a $3.5 million design-build contract to replace bridges across the state, including two in Ashe County, two in Avery County and three in Wilkes County.
The contract was awarded to James R. Vannoy and Sons Construction Company Inc. of Jefferson. Work can begin as early as July 30 and is scheduled for completion by Nov. 1, 2014.
The state-funded Bridge Improvement Program utilizes a new project procurement process called express design-build, which greatly shortens the amount of time it takes to build the structure. The process provides a faster procurement time than the traditional design-build methodology in that contractors are not required to submit a technical proposal.
More than 160 bridge replacement projects were awarded this past year and the DOT anticipates 150 more bridge replacement projects will be awarded across all 14-highway divisions over the next fiscal year. The projects will utilize the express design-build process.
Since Gov. Bev Perdue took office in January 2009, NCDOT has awarded 40 design-build contracts totaling $1.8 billion. In addition to expediting construction, design-build projects utilize more private sector contractors, stimulating job creation.
The two bridges in Ashe County being replaced, and detours around the projects, are located on:
- Hoke Wagoner Road over Nathans Creek in Chestnut Hill: Take Hoke Wagner Road to J.E. Gentry Road to U.S. 221.
- Little Laurel Road over Little Laurel Creek in Roten. Traffic will be maintained on site during construction.
The two bridges in Avery County being replaced, and detours around the projects, are located on:
- White Pine Road over White Pine Creek in Crossnor. Take White Pine Road to Old N.C. 194.
- Little Horse Creek Road over Little Horse Creek in Cranberry Gap. Traffic will be maintained on site during construction.
The three bridges in Wilkes County being replaced and detours around the projects are located on:
- Berry Branch Road over Bumgarner Branch in Wilbar. Traffic will be maintained on site during construction.
- Mt. Sinai Road over Clercy Branch in Windy Gap. Traffic will be maintained on site during construction.
- Broyhill Road over S. Palm Moravian Falls Creek in Moravian Falls. Traffic will be maintained on site during construction.
These bridges are considered to be structurally deficient and/or functionally obsolete, and have reached the end of their life cycle. The bridges are still safe, but there are elements of the bridges that need to be monitored to maintain structural integrity. Many of the bridges have weight limits that do not allow heavier truck traffic to cross, and replacements will remove the postings.
Gov. Perdue’s proposed budget supports enhancing and expanding transportation infrastructure. The Bridge Improvement Plan Contract is one of 23 contracts totaling $246.7 million awarded by Conti last month for highway and bridge projects across North Carolina. NCDOT awarded the contracts to the lowest bidders, as required by state law. The bids received on the projects awarded came in about 5.9 percent, or $15.4 million, below NCDOT estimates.