If all goes as planned, sometime next year, probably close to summer, the Jug Handle Bridge that will by pass the S Curves just north of Rodanthe will have its ribbon cutting.
The S Curves, just north of Rodanthe, is one of the most dynamic areas of Pea Island.
There have been one or two glitches along the way, but fur the most part the project is pretty close to being on schedule.
The two biggest glitches were Hurricane Dorian. That’s a weather glitch and weather is by far the biggest concern of project managers.
The other glitch was a problem with the concrete pilings that will support the bridge.
The problem has been corrected, by back in December inspectors noticed minute cracks were developing in the pilings. Luckily the problem was noticed quickly, although one of the defective pilings had been driven. That piling has been removed—a very difficult process.
The bridge is being built from the north and south simultaneously. It was on the north end that the defective pilings effected. As a consequence, the north end is running a little behind the south end that is coming from Rodanthe.
The process of building the bridge is remarkable for how straightforward the process is, yet how critical each component is coordinated.
Because the bridge is designed to have a 100 year lifespan, the pilings have to be driven deep beneath the waters of the Pamlico Sound. The pilings for the main part of the bridge are 155’ long and since the bridge will be about 25’ above the surface of the water, the pilings are being driven 130’.
The cranes and gantries the handle the pilings were custom built in Italy and watching them place the pilings is like witnessing a very slow moving dance of remarkable intricacy.
We’ll file more reports on the progress of the Jug Handle Bridge from time to time as it continues it trek across the Pamlico Sound.
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