RALEIGH – The
I-85 bridge that carried millions of vehicles over the Yadkin River for decades
is now coming down. Crews are in the process of demolishing the old Yadkin
River bridge, which was built in 1955 and linked Davidson and Rowan counties
until it was closed to traffic last year.
The N.C. Department of
Transportation has replaced the old bridge with two new bridges that better
meet the needs of today’s drivers. The new spans are a sharp contrast to the
old bridge, which was narrow and had virtually no shoulders where vehicles
could pull off during emergencies. The new bridges are each four lanes wide
with ample shoulders. These modern enhancements make driving over the river
safer and easier for the more than 60,000 vehicles – many of which are tractor
trailers – that pass through this section of I-85 each day.
Contract crews are currently removing the driving surface of
the old bridge known as the bridge deck. They are starting on the Davidson
County side of the river and working their way south to the Rowan County side.
Once the deck is gone, crews will position their equipment on floating barges
to remove the support structure. Demolition work is scheduled to be complete by
early April, weather permitting.
The old bridge is nearly 0.2 miles long, roughly one-third
of the length of the new bridges.
Currently, the new I-85 North bridge is carrying two lanes
of I-85 northbound traffic and two lanes of I-85 southbound traffic. Once crews
finish widening I-85 to four lanes in each direction on either side of the new
bridges this spring, NCDOT will open the new I-85 South bridge and shift
traffic into its final pattern.
This work is all
part of the I-85 Corridor Improvement Project, the state’s top mobility
project. NCDOT broke ground in September 2010 on the southern segment
of the project, which involves widening 3.3 miles of I-85 from north of Long
Ferry Road in Rowan County to north of N.C. 150 in Davidson County,
reconstructing the N.C. 150 interchange and replacing eight bridges, including
the Yadkin River bridge. NCDOT expects to complete all work on I-85 within the
southern segment of the project by May.
information, visit www.i-85yadkinriver.com.
To receive instant updates on traffic pattern changes, construction-related
congestion and project milestones, follow NCDOT’s I-85 Twitter feed.
(Editor’s note: Aerial photos and construction images of the new bridges are available on the
NCDOT Flickr page.)
Crews demolishing the old Yadkin River Bridge
|Click this image to view at original resolution|