UPDATE: New Blue Ridge Parkway bridge close to connecting

Press release from NC DOT:

UPDATE, Feb. 16: The operation planned for Saturday morning has been postponed until minor construction equipment issues are resolved.


The new Blue Ridge Parkway bridge over Interstate 26 is close to connecting.

It will be just a matter of three feet from one side to the other come Saturday morning after crews conduct the final large segment lift around sunrise.

But several operations and a several weeks remain before the two sides actually connect.

The bridge deck has been built one side at a time by lifting pre-cast concrete sections and placing them in position alternating from one side of the pier to the other. The final section, as designed in the pre-construction plans, will be poured by hand following other necessary operations.

“It’s exciting to look back at all that everybody has accomplished and to see it come so close to completion,” Resident Engineer Luke Middleton said. “A lot of small tasks remain before the final pour, and even more tasks before it opens to drivers.”

A contractor for the N.C. Department of Transportation will close a section of I-26 East from 4-8 a.m. on Saturday in order to execute the lift. Like previous closures in this stretch, traffic will be detoured on Brevard Road (N.C. 191) south to Long Shoals and back to I-26. Traffic lights will remain green longer on the detour route to accommodate additional traffic. On Saturday afternoon, crews will use the segment lifter one final time to place a segment near the far western abutment. No traffic will be impacted.

The next major step, scheduled for late February, involves pouring concrete to close the gap near the western abutment. After that concrete cures, crews will increase tension in the cables that run through segments of the bridge.

The final closure pour — which connects both sides — is currently scheduled for a night in the next four to six weeks. The exact date will be determined based on the time needed for concrete to cure and time needed to increase tension in the cables.

Remaining operations revolve around building short sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway leading up to the bridge on both sides. Other tasks include placing a 2-inch overlay on the deck, building a 5-foot sidewalk, and adding stone masonry in specific locations.

The opening date is to be determined.

“We certainly hope everybody who visits our area this fall to view the leaves changing colors and everything else Asheville has to offer will be able to drive on the new bridge,” Middleton said.

Building a new bridge for the Blue Ridge Parkway over I-26 is necessary to accommodate the I-26 widening project.

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