Here in North Carolina there are more than 13,000 bridges. The bridge over Route 133 was built in 1934. It's one of 15 bridges in New Hanover County that is considered structurally deficient because of its age and because it's deteriorating. Other bridges in the area, like the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge and Isabel Holmes Bridge have good safety ratings and are considered safe. That's according to North Carolina DOT spokesperson Allen Pope. Pope told me the North Carolina DOT spends $65 million a year in repairs on the states' bridges. Inspectors look at the bridges every two years. Pope said, "We would not put traffic on any bridges that are unsafe. We have a great inspection program and a great, what we call, prompt action program to take care of those immediate needs." Pope said about 100 bridges are replaced in North Carolina each year. Experts say to think of bridges the same way you think of cars: you may drive a vehicle that's years old but as the years pass, it requires more and more maintenance and the problems begin when there aren't check-ups. As for the Route 133 bridge there are plans to rebuild it in 2008. The replacement of one local bridge will have to wait a little longer. The State Board of Transportation was hoping to award a contract to replace the bridge over the intercoastal on Sunset Beach Boulevard in Brunswick County Thursday. That didn't happen. The board rejected all bids and will re-let them later.
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