UPDATE —– ASHEVILLE, NC (October 5, 2016)…A bridge over Old Millpond Lake in Granite Falls has been closed indefinitely after an initial inspection revealed some damage under the structure. The N.C. Department of Transportation immediately closed the bridge for safety purposes.
The initial examination of the bridge on Falls Avenue revealed three of four beams in one of the 12 spans of the bridge are damaged and a depression is visible. The cause of the damage has not been determined. The bridge was built in 1942 and currently has a concrete deck with steel beams and timber piles anchoring the base.
State transportation officials will do more inspections today and Thursday, and once again when water is drained from the lake to allow greater access to the piles.
Initial estimates have the bridge being closed for at least one month. A specific timeline will be scheduled once a plan for repair or replacement is finalized.
In the meantime, a detour has been set up around the bridge. When heading west, motorists should take the eight-mile route containing six turns: Heading north on Ike Starnes Road, left on Wyke Road, left on Dudley Shoals, right on Pinewood Road, left on U.S. 321 and left back to Falls Avenue. The reverse applies when starting west of the bridge.
The department reminds motorists to stay alert, slow down and use extra caution when utilizing detours.
For real-time travel information, visit the Traveler Services section of NCDOT.gov or follow NCDOT on Twitter.
The bridge was built in 1942.
All bridges are inspected every other year.
GRANITE FALLS, NC (October 4, 2016)…Caldwell County Emergency Services is announcing that the Mill Pond Bridge on Falls Avenue in Granite Falls is closed until further notice.
Kenneth Teague, Caldwell County Emergency Management Coordinator, says that engineers with the North Carolina Department of Transportation are in route at this time to begin evaluation of the structure of the bridge.
Schools affected were contacted in time to make necessary adjustments to bus routes. Some of these routes may have been delayed as a result.
Travelers are advised to find alternate routes around the bridge until further notice.
A wooden bridge pylon failed and split apart causing the bridge to sag. No word on a cause at this time.
NCDOT crews will be inspecting the bridge further on Wednesday (10-05-2016) morning to determine what steps will be taken next.
NCDOT Bridge Quick Facts
NCDOT is responsible for inspecting and taking care of about 18,000 structures:
4,500 culverts and pipes that are 20 feet or longer, which means they fit the federal definition of a bridge
About 9,000 structures are inspected each year by certified bridge inspectors.
About 5,300, or 40 percent, of the state’s bridges are considered structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
Structurally deficient bridges have load carrying components in poor condition due to deterioration. These bridges are safe. However, they require significant maintenance to remain in service, and limits on vehicle weights may be required. To fully address the issues on a structurally deficient bridge, extensive rehabilitation or replacement is usually required.
Functionally obsolete bridges no longer meet the demands of the traffic using them. These bridges are safe but need to be improved or replaced due to narrow lanes, low height clearances, or have posted weight limits.
For NCDOT to repair or rehabilitate all deficient bridges, it would cost more than $9.4 billion.