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ELIZABETHTOWN – A major milestone in the construction of a new U.S. 701 bridge in Bladen County is scheduled to occur Saturday.

A contractor plans to permanently shift the northbound traffic from the current bridge onto the new one being built alongside it over the Cape Fear River. Law enforcement will help guide the shift, weather permitting. The pavement must be dry before they can place pavement markings needed for the shift.

After the shift, crews next week will pave a crossover in the median and a tie-in on either side of the bridge.

If inclement weather prevents the shift from happening Saturday, it will be rescheduled for Monday or Tuesday.

The crossovers will be used when the southbound lane is shifted, either on May 5 or May 6, onto the new bridge.

Drivers should slow down and be alert during these upcoming shifts and for the crossover median construction next week.

After both shifts take place, crews will begin demolishing the two-lane bridge, which needs to be removed in order to finish constructing the four-lane bridge.

Construction began on the new bridge in 2020 after NCDOT awarded a $23.3 million contract. The bridge is scheduled to be completed in spring 2024.

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