Lake Norman & Mooresville

Weather, excess damage delays work on N.C. 150 bridge

Renovations on the N.C 150 bridge that crosses the northern end of Lake Norman may not be completed for several more weeks, an official from the N.C. Department of Transportation told the Lake Norman Marine Commission during its July 13 meeting.

Blake Guffey, assistant resident engineer at the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Division of Highways’ regional office in Kings Mountain, said that weather conditions over the past six weeks, along with more work than was anticipated on the bridge’s road surface and metalwork, forced officials to push back the anticipated July 1 deadline.

“We’re looking at two weeks before we can look forward to getting the those guys out of the water,” Guffey told marine commissioners about the underbridge work. “As far as the work on top, we’re still making some deck repairs, so we’re looking at maybe three weekends and we’ll hopefully be off of 150 for quite a while.”

Work on the 50-year-old bridge has been underway since last year by contractor American Bridge Inc., primarily on the underbridge steelwork. However, that work revealed more corrosion than state officials anticipated, and work crews have had to replace steel support girders and bolts.

Once those are replaced and certified by state transportation officials, Guffey said, work will begin on applying a corrosion-resistant paint to the steelwork.

“They’ve actually hired some temporary labor to get things completed as quickly as possible,” Guffey said.

As for the work on the topside of the N.C. 150 bridge, work began last month on preparing the road surface for an application of “latex concrete,” necessitating partial closures of the bridge on weekends and evenings, Guffey said.

That work was expected to have been completed July 1. But Guffey said the closures have had to be extended for three reasons: prep work on the existing roadway revealed more wear and tear than anticipated, sections of the roadway had to be removed to allow access to the underlying steelwork, and temperatures would not allow the pouring of the latex-concrete mixture until the late evening hours.

“We know about the inconvenience this has caused, and we apologize for it,” Guffey said. “It’s one of the worst spots to be doing bridge repairs. But if you can bear with us, we can get this done and get the bridge open. It’ll be a whole lot better, and I know it’ll be a whole lot safer than it was.”

In other business before the Lake Norman Marine Commission:

▪ Joe Kluttz, with Duke Energy’s lake services division, said that because of the recent lack of rainfall, Lake Norman’s water level was down to 96.3 feet, more than 18 inches below the target level of 98 feet. Because of that and other indicators such as water flow, the Catawba-Wateree Drought Management Advisory Group had declared a Stage 0 drought alert – basically a drought watch.

▪ Marine commissioners unanimously approved a contract with accountant J. Ronald Martin, PA, of Charlotte to conduct the annual audit for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

▪ The next meeting of the Lake Norman Marine Commission is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 10 at the Charles Mack Citizen Center, 215 N. Main St., downtown Mooresville.

Bill Kiser is a freelance writer: