TAR HEEL — The former truss bridge that once stood over the Cape Fear River in Tar Heel is no more.
The bridge was recently cut free from its long held spot on Tar Heel Ferry Road and lowered carefully onto barges waiting in the Cape Fear River. It now sits moored near the Wildlife Landing in Tar Heel.
N.C. Department of Transportation’s Whiteville Resident Engineer Rusty Marsh said crews used a process where the bridge, once the structural steel was cut free, was carefully rigged and, using a jacking system, lowered down to the river below.
Marsh said that crews were expected to begin disassembling the old truss bridge on Monday, if the weather permits. Marsh said a second crew will also begin the process of dismantling the old concrete bridge that spans the overflow area, as well.
“By the end of November, both of the old bridges will be gone and the contractor will be finishing up,” said Marsh of the Tar Heel project.
He said the contractor will also be placing debris deflectors in the river to protect the concrete platforms of the newly constructed bridge from being hit by debris floating in the river.
The truss bridge on Tar Heel Ferry Road was constructed about 1955.
Other bridge work
On N.C. 11, Marsh said the truss bridge is still in place but the crew that lowered the bridge in Tar Heel is preparing to move their equipment and lower the truss bridge over the Cape Fear River on N.C. 11 at the Columbus-Bladen County line. He said it is anticipated that the lowering will take place in the next few weeks.
“A number of factors will play into it (lowering the N.C. 11 bridge),” said Marsh.
He said both projects are in the completion stages.
He said DOT was faced with issues with the trusses being damaged when vehicles that were too tall would strike the overhead truss system. Marsh said that the last time both bridges were struck, they each had to be closed for a period of time, causing frustration for motorists.
Marsh said, most recently, when the bridge on NC 11 was last struck, it had to be closed for eight days.
“Our biggest concern was getting the motorists onto the new bridge,” said Marsh of both projects.
The truss bridge on N.C. 11 was constructed about 1952.
—Erin Smith can be reached at 910-862-4163.