Narrow bridges

How safe are the bridges in Cumberland County, North Carolina?


Of the 321 bridges in Cumberland County, 19 of them are in need of repair, 15 of them are considered structurally deficient and six of them are closed.

Almost 5% of Cumberland County’s bridges are structurally deficient and nearly 6% need some sort of repair or corrective action, according to Federal Highway Administration data.

Of the county’s 321 bridges, 19 are in need of repair, 15 are considered structurally deficient and six are closed, the data shows.

Andrew Barksdale, a spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Transportation, said North Carolina bridges are inspected about once every two years by NCDOT bridge workers.

Barksdale said a bridge is considered structurally deficient when it frequently needs to be closed or repaired, and is considered functionally obsolete when it does not meet current safety standards for bridges.

“Functionally obsolete are the bridges that were built many years ago to different standards when we had smaller trucks, smaller vehicles,” Barksdale said Wednesday. “Functionally obsolete usually means that they are quite narrow and have weight limits for standard vehicles only today.”

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Barksdale said that a functionally obsolete bridge is not necessarily in worse condition than a structurally deficient bridge, just that they are classifications of different problems. While a functionally obsolete bridge no longer meets current safety standards for traffic, a structurally deficient bridge may meet those standards but requires frequent repairs to remain in service, he said.

According to Barksdale, the NCDOT would not keep a bridge open if it was unsafe, so a bridge classified as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete that remains open is not considered a danger to motorists.

Of the 321 bridges in Cumberland County, 281 are monitored and maintained by the state, while the remaining bridges are maintained by the town of Fayetteville or the military, according to the data.

One bridge in Cumberland County maintained by the North Carolina Department of Transportation that is considered both structurally deficient and functionally obsolete is the US 401 Ramsey Street Bridge over the Lower Little River between Josey Williams Road and Linden Road, Barksdale said.

According to the data, the bridge was built in 1940 and was last inspected in March 2020.

Between 6,100 and 6,300 vehicles cross the bridge per day, according to 2019 average daily traffic data maintained by NCDOT.

The Ramsey Street Bridge is expected to be replaced starting in the fall and will be closed for about a year until September 2022, when the new bridge is expected to be completed, Barksdale said.

“The bridge has reached the end of its useful life,” said Barksdale.

The detour to the Ramsey Street Bridge will be along Horseshoe Bend Road, Josey Williams Road, Wire Road and West Reeves Bridge Road.

According to Barksdale, several bridges in Cumberland County have been closed for emergency repairs in the past two years.

One of those bridges was the Grove Street Bridge over the Cape Fear River near downtown Fayetteville, which closed for about a month in 2018 to replace deck joints and concrete under the bridge.

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Another emergency bridge repair case in Cumberland County occurred in 2018, when the riverbed surrounding the East Manchester Road Bridge over the Little River at Spring Lake was eroded by flood water of Hurricane Florence.

Repairs to the East Manchester Road Bridge were completed about a month after it was damaged by the hurricane.

Barksdale said several Cumberland County bridges have also been replaced in recent years.

The Rowan Street Bridge over the railroad, the Maxwell Road Bridge over the South River, the Raeford Road Bridge over Bones Creek to Lake Rim, a section of the Faircloth Bridge Road over the South River, and two bridges over Hollow Bridge Road were replaced in 2018, he said.

Another section of the bridge crossing the South River on Faircloth Bridge Road was replaced in 2019 with the US 301 North Bridge over Interstate 95 South, he said.

In 2020, I-95 Business / US 301 on Dunn Road was replaced with the NC 59 bridge on US 301 and two more Hollow Bridge Road bridges over Sandy Creek, he said.

Statewide, North Carolina has 19,594 bridges, of which 16.71% are in need of repair and 8.14% are considered structurally deficient, the data shows.

According to the NCDOT website, as of March 2021, approximately 1,100, or 8.2% of the state’s bridges are considered to be in poor condition, which means that while they are not necessarily dangerous, they have deteriorating components; they require significant maintenance to remain in service; and they may require vehicle weight limits.

The estimated cost for NCDOT to replace all bridges classified in poor condition is more than $ 3.8 billion, the website says.

To take a look at the condition of bridges in the area and across the county, or to view similar databases, visit data center on the Fayetteville Observer site.

Criminal reporter Jack Boden can be contacted at [email protected]

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