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By Erin Smith

Work on the bridge over Ellis Creek on NC 53 West near White Oak will soon be wrapping up, according to Andrew Barksdale, a spokesman with the NC Department of Transportation.

The work involves the replacement of the bridge that crosses Ellis Creek near White Oak. According to Barksdale, the bridge was built 1946, and it was deemed both structurally deficient and functionally obsolete. He explained the bridge had remained safe to use, before the hurricane, but its condition was poor enough that it required more frequent maintenance and closures, and its design was outdated. Barksdale estimated the completion time on the work to be between two and three weeks.

“The new bridge is almost finished and ready for traffic,” said Barksdale.

He explained the frequent rain has hindered the contractor’s progress and the ability to do last-minute work.

“If we can catch some good weather, we are looking at 2-3 weeks before we can reopen the road. As soon as it dries off, they will be finishing the fine grading then all that is left after that is paving and guardrail,” said Barksdale.

The replacement of the bridge over Ellis Creek was one of seven bridges that was included in a contract lot in July 2016 to Smith-Rowe LLC of Mount Airy. The original contract calls for the replacement of one bridge in Cumberland County, two bridges in Bladen County and four bridges in Robeson County for the amount of $5,487,873.50.

The second bridge in Bladen County in this contract calls for the replacement of a bridge on Mercer Mill-Brown Marsh Road.

The completion date for all seven bridge projects in all three counties is estimated to be January 2020.

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