North Carolina to improve truck clearance beneath I-95 overpasses

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 10/22/2013

Crews began work on Monday, Oct. 21, to raise the overhead clearance for trucks at three bridge sites along Interstate 95 in Harnett County, N.C.

Records from law enforcement show seven recorded strikes by commercial vehicles or farm equipment traveling beneath the overpasses at Exits 71, 72 and 75 since 2009. Those overpasses are targeted for repairs as part of a three-phase project announced recently by the state DOT.

The first phase kicked off at Exit 71, where the Long Branch Road bridge crosses over I-95. Officials estimate that project will take about 71 days.

After that, the North Carolina Department of Transportation and its hired contractor will move on to the Pope Road bridge at Exit 72 and finish by improving the Jonesboro Road bridge at Exit 75.

All three bridges are 58 years old and are considered functionally obsolete.

The North Carolina DOT’s Traffic Engineering Accident Analysis System shows a total of seven bridge strikes by vehicles traveling beneath the three overpasses since 2009 including one fatality crash that occurred in September 2010. Total property damage from the seven crashes was estimated at $328,000. The September 2010 crash accounted for $185,000 of that total according to records obtained by Land Line.

According to NCDOT, the initial project called for deck and girder work to improve clearance, but inspections revealed the need for more comprehensive repairs to all three bridges.

During the first phase, westbound traffic on Long Bridge Road is being diverted to cross over I-95 at Exit 72 while eastbound traffic is being diverted to the Exit 70 crossing. Once Long Bridge Road is completed, the DOT will adjust the detours accordingly for each bridge.

For northbound and southbound traffic on I-95 traffic, periodic nighttime closures are possible, NCDOT said. Traffic will most likely be routed to the off- and on-ramps of each of the bridges as they are being repaired.

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