The bridge structure has been broken up as crews now work to remove supports and structures left in the Intracoastal Waterway
PENDER COUNTY -- Thanks for the memories (but not the traffic jams).
The swing bridge in Surf City is all but gone, the former site of Surf City's signature landmark now dwarfed by the new high-rise bridge that replaced it in early December.
Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, which is responsible for both the demolition of the old swing bridge and the construction of the $54-million new crossing of the Intracoastal Waterway, has some more work to do on the former -- a lot of it underwater as the company removes the huge concrete pads on which the old bridge once stood and once revolved.
But the charming, if inefficient, swing bridge is largely gone.
The bridge structure itself has been recycled as scrap -- with some small exceptions, according to project manager Jay Boyd.
Bits of the bridge have been provided to local photographer Jeff Wenzel of Above Topsail Aerial Photography and Media, who is crafting them into two art works which will be available in limited quantities to the public. A small support beam and another item or two have also been donated for display to the Historical Society of Topsail Island. Wenzel said he also believed that the operator’s console has been made available for display in Surf City’s Town Hall.
Boyd said there were no serious discussions about preserving the bridge as a whole for a second life somewhere else. Inquiries from other contractors were to handle the same recycling effort that Balfour Beatty has undertaken.
But there were hundreds of request from local residents and frequent visitors to get a piece of the old bridge. But Boyd said that it was either going to be tell everyone yes, or tell everyone no, and Balfour Beatty decided on the latter.
At the end of the project, nothing will remain of the bridge -- either above water or below, Boyd said. The project is scheduled to conclude by the end of March, and, given that Balfour Beatty completed the new bridge 10 months ahead of schedule, it is likely to be finished much sooner.
The new span is 3,600 feet long, sits 65 feet above the Intracoastal Waterway at its apex, and has roundabouts at each end to help control traffic. It also features a wide bicycle and pedestrian lane across its span -- a lane wide enough to serve standard vehicles in the event of an island-wide evacuation.
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