RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Nearly five years after a bridge on Lake Dam Road in Raleigh first closed, crews began work Friday to remove it with the goal of replacing it by the fall.
Neighbors have grown frustrated since 2014 when the bridge first closed due to safety concerns.
The bridge over Walnut Creek first opened in 1966. With it being closed, drivers can no longer use Lake Dam Road to connect between Tryon and Avent Ferry roads in the southwest part of the city.
“Buses aren’t allowed to use that, so we have to walk almost another whole mile. Like this morning I almost missed the bus,” said Yasmine Zayid, who lives in the neighborhood.
The bridge closed after inspectors became concerned about two of the beams. City officials said at the time the bridge was not at risk of collapsing but had become unsafe for drivers to use. They had anticipated replacing the bridge, so they did not go forward with repairs to reopen it sooner.
However, as CBS 17 has reported over the last five years, the project kept getting delayed.
Veronica High, the stormwater project administrator for the City of Raleigh, said the city has had to secure funding through the Federal Highway Administration, which is distributed through the North Carolina Department of Transportation. The project also required moving utilities and coordinating with other improvement projects in the area.
Now that the work has begun, she said crews will work on an expedited timeline to replace the bridge.
“We are moving as quickly as possible, allowing the contractor to work seven days a week to reconstruct the bridge as quickly as possible,” she said.
She said the work should conclude in the fall. The project will cost about $1.7 million, of which 80 percent is federally funded.
Yasmine Zayid said the news is “a lot of triumph” for the community now that the situation will finally get resolved.