Local/State

Mistake puts Tobacco Trail bridge behind schedule

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Trail advocate Curt Devereux has been fighting for a pedestrian bridge over I-40 - linking the two halves of the American Tobacco Trail - since 2005.

"A lot of delays, there have been many delays," said Devereux.

Now, just when construction seemed well underway, there's new trouble.

"What we've identified here is an error in the survey. And we have bridge piers that are 2.5 feet too high and they need to be adjusted to accommodate the rest of the bridge design," explained Tasha Johnson with Durham Public Works.

So this week, construction crews are cutting down the bridge's support piers. Luckily, they caught the mistake moments before pouring concrete that would've created a costlier problem.

"It would not have worked with the current design. We would have had to go back and redesign the whole bridge structure," said Johnson.

It wouldn't have been the first time the city had to go back to the drawing board. From funding to design problems, the $7.5 million dollar project's been stalled years. Its final price tag could exceed nine million.

For trail enthusiasts, this latest mishap has to be repaired.

"Two and a half feet would make it a tilted surface, and that's not something you would want because some people might be pushing strollers or other things like that," said Devereux.

The good news is taxpayers won't have to pay for it. Blythe Construction, a Charlotte-based construction firm, will foot the bill.

Now, the only worry is whether this project that was already two months behind schedule before the mishap will meet its July deadline.

"It's gonna be a real win. There's lots of people really looking forward to it happening. We just kind of wish it could've happened a bit quicker. There's just been a lot of things down the road that's slowed it down," said Devereaux.

When the 800-foot bridge is finished, the 22-mile American Tobacco Trail will run from downtown Durham - through Cary and Apex - to New Hill in Chatham County.

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Tags:
durham county, chatham county, wake county, local/state, tamara gibbs
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