Topsail Advertiser
  • DOT to hold hearing on design of new Surf City bridge

  • The proposed design for the new fixed bridge that will replace the decades-old swing bridge in Surf City will be showcased at a public hearing later this month.
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  • The proposed design for the new fixed bridge that will replace the decades-old swing bridge in Surf City will be showcased at a public hearing later this month.
    N.C. Department of Transportation officials are hosting a public hearing July 29 to present the proposed design and receive input from area residents.
    “On the bridge there will be a multi-use path that will be for pedestrians to walk across the bridge and for leisure bicyclists,” said Chad Critcher, project manager for RS&H Architects-Engineers-Planners, Inc., the project consultant assisting DOT. “On-road bicyclists will have their own lanes as well.”
    A barrier will divide vehicular lanes from the 10-foot-wide path, which will tie into sidewalks leading down Roland Avenue to Soundside Park on the island.
    The benefit of creating one multi-use lane as opposed to pedestrian and bike paths on each side of the bridge is that one wide lane will provide 39 feet of clearance between barriers. The extra space can be used to create a third lane during emergency evacuations – two lanes for traffic heading off of the island and one lane for traffic coming onto the island.
    “The latest designs we’ve look at and will probably be new to the citizens will be the roundabouts that we’ve added both on the mainland side and the island side,” Critcher said. “The roundabout has the advantage of free-flow movement.”
    A steering committee of residents in Surf City, Topsail Beach and North Topsail Beach has selected a four-legged roundabout as the preferable alternative on the mainland side.
    The committee liked the roundabout because it will create a “gateway appearance” to the island, Critcher said. The proposed roundabout will be at the intersection of Roland Avenue and Little Kinston Road.
    In February, a majority of the Surf City Town Council voted in support of a three-legged roundabout that will connect to the bridge on the island.
    DOT has held a series of public workshops and hearings since 2009 about replacing the swing bridge, a fixture in the town since the 1950s.
    The department in the fall of 2012 selected a 65-foot, high-level bridge to replace the current one. DOT officials say their selection, which was the most preferred by residents who commented during the selection process, will eliminate vehicular and boat delays from bridge openings and closings and will affect the fewest number of homes and businesses from relocating.
    The bridge, which will be located about 1,000 feet south of the swing bridge, will cost $57 million, the cheapest of all of the alternatives.
    If the department concludes there is no significant impact of the project, right-of-way acquisition is anticipated to begin in 2015 with construction beginning in 2017.
    The swing bridge will remain the link to the island while the new bridge is under construction. It is unclear what will become of the swing bridge.
    Page 2 of 2 - “As of right now the contractor will inherit the bridge and it will be their responsibility to dispose of it,” Critcher said.
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    Want to go?
    DOT is hosting an open house before and public hearing on proposed design of new Surf City bridge.
    The open house will be July 29 from 3:30-6:30 p.m. open house followed by the 7 p.m. hearing at the Topsail Island Moose Lodge, 13175 N.C. 50, Holly Ridge.
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