Carbonton Bridge replacement gets new contractor

Posted 9/6/19

GULF — The long saga regarding the replacement of the Carbonton Bridge may soon be coming to an end.

The N.C. Department of Transportation announced last week that a new contractor had been …

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Carbonton Bridge replacement gets new contractor

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Posted

GULF — The long saga regarding the replacement of the Carbonton Bridge may soon be coming to an end.

The N.C. Department of Transportation announced last week that a new contractor had been assigned to complete the construction of the replacement bridge which was supposed to be done nearly a year ago.

The aging bridge, which crosses the Deep River on N.C. Hwy. 42 near the intersection of Chatham, Lee and Moore counties, had suffered deterioration of its substructure and caps that hold the girders in place.

DOT announced last week that U.S. Fire and Insurance contracted with Smith-Rowe of Mt. Airy to complete the job. The company was given a deadline of 120 days from the date of the new contract to complete the project.

Regardless of what the two companies negotiated, the state will still only responsible for the initial contract amount of $2.1 million and will continue to receive liquidation damages throughout. According to Garry Phillips, NCDOT Resident Engineer, Smith-Rowe has worked with NCDOT on “numerous bridges” in the past and he has “great confidence” that the project will be complete by the end of the year.

“We do not anticipate any problems with this bunch,” Phillips said.

The construction, which has forced the closure of the road, began early in 2018 with a scheduled completion in the fall of that year. The original contractor, Extreme Concrete Cutting of Gaffney, S.C., was awarded the $2.1 repair contract. The company’s progress was slow and as of today the bridge is only 50 percent complete. The company had been awarded several extensions because of Hurricanes Florence and Michael, but were still unable to finish the project.

After missing several deadlines, the company was forced to pay liquidation damages of $1,000 per day that the bridge was not completed. In June, the NCDOT rescinded the contract with the company and began working with U.S. Fire and Insurance, the bonding company which was ultimately responsible for ensuring the job’s completion. U.S. Fire and Insurance has been and will continue to pay the $1,000 per day liquidation damages to NCDOT until the job is complete. While the construction has been ongoing, local residents, commercial and commuter traffic have been forced on a detour using Plank Road that averages about 10-15 minutes of additional driving time each way.

Phillips said he believes Smith-Rowe will have crews on the site by the end of next week to begin work to complete the construction of a replacement bridge. He added that he is hopeful the weather will also cooperate as North Carolina is entering hurricane season.

“Unless we get some crazy weather, I have full confidence that the bridge will be open to traffic by the end of the year,” Phillips said.

Casey Mann can be reached at CaseyMann@Chathamnr.com.

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