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NCDOT Awards $9.6 Million to Replace 15 Bridges in Watauga, Avery, Ashe, Caldwell and Wilkes Counties

May 8, 2012. RALEIGH — N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Gene Conti has awarded a $9.6 million design-build contract to replace two bridges each in Watauga and Ashe counties, four in Avery County, one in Caldwell County and six in Wilkes County.

The contract was awarded to Crowder Construction Co. of Charlotte on Monday, May 7. Work can begin as early as May 29 and be completed by Nov. 1, 2015.

The contract is among 17 to be let by June 2012 using a new concept called express design-build, which can go from zero to construction in eight months. The concept is more efficient than traditional methods in that it does not require a technical proposal; the contract award winner is selected solely on low bid. The projects will replace about 175 bridges across all 14 highway divisions.

The two bridges in Watauga County being replaced are located on:

  • Church Road over the Watauga River in Foscoe; and
  • Emory Greer Road over Cove Creek in Zionville.

The four bridges in Avery County being replaced are located on:

  • Alton Palmer Road over Curtis Creek in Cranberry;
  • Birchfield Creek Road over Birchfield Creek in Minneapolis;
  • Shoemaker Road over Shoemaker Creek in Banner Elk; and
  • Dark Ridge Road over Trivette Branch in Beech Mountain.

The two bridges in Ashe County being replaced are located on:

  • Rich Hill Road over Rich Hill Creek in Clifton; and
  • Greer Hollow Road over Greer Branch in Lansing.

The bridge in Caldwell County being replaced is located on:

  • Anthony Creek Road over Woodruff Branch in Globe.

The six bridges in Wilkes County being replaced are located on:

  • Dr. Miles Road over Naked Creek in Ferguson;
  • Middle Fork Road over an unnamed tributary for the Middle Prong Roaring River in Hayes;
  • Piney Grove Church Road over Double Creek in Hayes;
  • Buckwheat Road over Buckwheat Branch in McGrady; and
  • Two on Vannoy Road over the North Fork of the Reddies River in McGrady.

The design-build method allows the design, environmental permitting, right-of-way acquisition, utility relocation and construction to take place at the same time, under one contract. This method reduces overall construction time, helps the department avoid cost inflation, allows the contractor to make innovations that save taxpayers money, lessens environmental impact and alleviates driving delays for motorists.

These bridges are considered to be structurally deficient and/or functionally obsolete, and have reached the end of their life cycle. This does not mean the bridges are unsafe, but there are elements of the bridges that need to be monitored to maintain structural integrity. Many of these bridges have weight limits that do not allow heavier truck traffic to cross and these replacements will remove the postings.

Since Gov. Bev Perdue took office in January of 2009, NCDOT has awarded 36 design-build contracts totaling $1.8 billion. In addition to expediting construction, design-build projects utilize more private sector contractors, stimulating job creation.

This is one of 24 contracts totaling $117.6 million awarded by Conti 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 17.5 percent, or $25 million, below NCDOT estimates.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, every $1 million spent on transportation creates 30 jobs, and according to the construction industry, every dollar invested in transportation generates $6 in economic impact.