The Albergotti Creek Bridge in northern Beaufort County -- ranked among the 20 worst bridges in the state by AAA Carolinas -- is soon to be replaced, state and county officials say.
A $4.9 million contract has been awarded to APAC Southeast Inc. of Tampa, Fla., according to David Glenn, a construction and maintenance engineer for the S.C. Department of Transportation. Work should begin late this month or in early July and be completed by October 2015, he said.
The bridge is part of the Trask Parkway along U.S. 21, between Salt Creek Drive East and Roseida Road. Traffic cones and road-work signs should appear shortly, Glenn said. Some orange cones had been placed near the bridge Monday, although no crews or equipment was at the site.
The new bridge will be wider and longer than the current span, which will be replaced in phases. The bridge and four lanes of traffic will remain open during construction.
Glenn said construction will be complicated because the road is a major artery for Beaufort, and it would be impractical to close two lanes as work proceeds.
"So we'll build part of the new bridge and then switch traffic patterns and build the other part," he said.
About 29,400 vehicles cross the bridge daily, according to the DOT.
The project is being paid for by the state, according to Rob McFee, county engineering director.
Repairs were approved in 2008, but planning, permitting and funding delayed the project, state officials have said.
One hurdle was cleared last year when a half-acre needed for the new bridge and owned by Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, passed a mandatory review by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Federal law requires HUD to examine unused or surplus federal property before the land can be sold or an easement granted, a naval official said at the time.
AAA Carolinas has deemed the bridge "structurally deficient" and "functionally obsolete," but says it is still safe to cross. Glenn said that most of the problems are because the bridge is 65 years old.
"The biggest thing is that it's just an older bridge in a saltwater environment," he said. "Our infrastructure is aging, and we just have these bridges that need replacing."
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