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UPDATED: NCDOT closing northbound U.S. Highway 701 bridge in Elizabethtown

By Charlotte Smith

Updated at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, November 22, 2019

Ms. Faye M. Boyne, with the N.C. Department of Transportation announced an update this afternoon on the U.S. Highway 701 northbound bridge closing in Elizabethtown.

According to the announcement the northbound bridge over the Cape Fear River will be closed until February 28, 2020 for bridge inspection. The traffic will be rerouted to the southbound bridge. No wide loads are to cross the southbound bridge, according to the NCDOT report.

Previous article published on November 21, 2019:

The northbound bridge on U.S. Highway 701 over the Cape Fear River in Elizabethtown will be closing this afternoon, Thursday, November 21, according to the Andrew Barksdale with the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Town of Elizabethtown Manager Eddie Madden, stated the NCDOT found some causes for concern leading  to further investigations of the bridge.

“The department’s bridge maintenance crews need to close the bridge to stage its equipment and set up an inspection platform overnight and be ready to conduct the inspections on Friday morning,” Barksdale stated in his press release.

The bridge over the river in Elizabethtown opened in May of this year after the southbound bridge had been closed for months due to debris removal under the bridges.

Contract divers went under the bridge after the debris was removed in May to assess any damages. The divers looked for scour damage, according to NCDOT District Engineer, Kenneth Clark, PE. Scour, caused by swiftly moving water, can scoop out scour holes, compromising the integrity of a structure, in this case, the bridge. The report from the May investigation showed no cause for concerns, according to Clark.

Divers will investigate both the north and southbound bridges again tomorrow, November 22, 2019.

If no structural problems are discovered, the agency can reopen the northbound bridge by Saturday, according to Barksdale.

During the closure, traffic will be shifted to the southbound U.S. 701 bridge, operating in a two-lane pattern.

The southbound U.S. 701 bridge was built in 1957 and the northbound bridge was built in 1986. More information will be published as soon as it is made available.

For real-time travel information, visit DriveNC.gov or follow NCDOT on social media.

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