Extensive bridge re-build on Hwy. 55 includes on-site detour

MERRITT – The bridge to be replaced spans Trent Creek, which is a tributary of Bay River. Originally constructed in 1960, the bridge is nearing the end of its service life, and according to state highway officials, a new one is required.

To get the job done, the N.C. Department of Transportation awarded S.T. Wooten Corp. of Wilson a $5.7 million contract in July. To minimize traffic disruptions, part of the bid pays for a temporary crossing, which started construction in early September alongside the existing bridge. However, as regular motorists will attest, this has been no easy feat. Clearing, fill, grading and other work has been non-stop for over two months.

Traffic is expected to switch onto the temporary structure by early 2023. Then, Wooten will completely demolish the original span. A new bridge will be completed and opened in about two years.