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North Carolina DOT Gets Tough on Bridge Project

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The North Carolina Dept. of Transportation (NCDOT) has set Sept. 30 as the new target date for completing the Oak Island Bridge project in Brunswick County, N.C. Part of a new 4.5-mile link to connect Oak Island with the mainland south of Wilmington, the troubled $36.5-million project has twice experienced lengthy delays since work began in August 2007. Construction was halted for six months after a 121-ton concrete girder fell 40 feet from a temporary support brace in December 2008, killing one worker and injuring two others. Prime contractor Barnhill Contracting Co., Tarboro, N.C., and bridge erection subcontractor Lee Construction Co. of the Carolinas Inc., Pineville, N.C., were subsequently fined for violations of the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Act. The discovery of cold joints in the structure’s post-tensioned precast girders in June 2009 forced a second four-month delay, as Barnhill and NCDOT investigated processes used by the components’ fabricator, Standard Concrete Products, Savannah, Ga. The company ultimately produced replacement girders that met with state approval. The final structure will consist of 160-ft-long modified bulb-tees erected as three-span continuous units.

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