As construction on new high-rise bridge progresses, fate of iconic swing bridge is still up in the air
PENDER COUNTY -- The new high-rise, curving bridge that will replace the iconic Surf City swing bridge connecting the mainland to Topsail Island should be completed on time by September 2019, according to the N.C. Department of Transportation.
"That is still our contract completion, and the contractor is on schedule," said Trevor Carroll, resident engineer for the DOT.
The new span, 3,600 feet long and 65 feet high at its highest point, will replace the aging swing bridge. The fate of the swing bridge, built in the 1950s and a landmark in Surf City, is in the hands of the contractor for the high-rise bridge, Carroll said.
"We investigated several options," Carroll said. "Ultimately this structure will be the responsibility and property of the winning contractor, Balfour Beatty."
Some of those options including gifting the bridge to the town, sinking it to create an artificial reef or relocating it to create a park of some kind.
Town Manager Larry Bergman said the problem with the "gift" is that it came with significant costs to make the structure safe.
"Relocating the bridge anywhere would require significant superstructure to support it, even if just located on a nearby spoil island or sticking it in a park, etc.," he said. "There are also significant lead abatement issues that would need to be addressed and then maintained over time. While I don’t have all the details the gift of a bridge would quickly have a cost heading into ($1 million) as I was told."
Reporter Tim Buckland can be reached at 910-343-2217 or Tim.Buckland@StarNewsOnline.com.