North Carolina bridge to close for six months

May 13, 2024

Land Line Staff

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The William B. Umstead Bridge over the Croatan Sound in North Carolina is scheduled to temporarily close for preservation.

Also known as Old Manns Harbor Bridge, the structure carries U.S. Highway 64 in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

A North Carolina Department of Transportation news release said the bridge will close on June 3 and is expected to remain closed for six months as part of a $33 million bridge preservation project.

All 313 concrete spans on the bridge are scheduled to be repaired, and 170 expansion joints will be replaced during the closure.

“Given the extent of the restoration work and the narrow lanes on the 69-year-old bridge, the North Carolina Department of Transportation has determined that a complete bridge closure is preferable to completing the work under single-land closures,” the news release said.

In terms of the timing of the closure, the North Carolina DOT said the materials used for preservation work are best used in warm temperatures and that scheduling the closure for summer and fall will best avoid costly delays.

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State transportation officials estimate the bridge will reopen with lane closures sometime in the late fall or early winter.

Drivers traveling between Manns Harbor and Roanoke Island during the bridge closure are advised to take the Virginia Dare Bridge as an alternate route.

Completion of the bridge project is expected in late 2026, according to NCDOT.

Wildlife haven

Since its opening in the late 1950s, the Umstead Bridge has been heavily used by purple martins to roost. The speed limit on the bridge is even reduced from 55 mph to 20 mph at dawn and dusk in July and August.

NCDOT said the bridge preservation work is not expected to impact purple martins nesting in the bridge, as the work will not occur between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. during the nesting season. LL

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