Bladen County bridge construction requires traffic pattern change

An NCDOT contractor is constructing a four-lane bridge over the Cape Fear River in Bladen County. It will go up alongside an existing bridge (shown) that eventually will be demolished. (Photo: NCDOT)

UPDATE: Due to this week’s inclement weather, the scheduled lane reduction for March 17-19 has been postponed for next week with a revised schedule.

ELIZABETHTOWN, NC (WWAY) — The U.S. 701 bridge spanning the Cape Fear River will temporarily operate in a one-lane pattern this month, so workers can safely put down more pavement needed for the construction of the new bridge.

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The two-lane bridge, which now carries northbound and southbound traffic, is scheduled to be reduced to one lane during these times:

  • March 17-19 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily​​​​​​​
  • March 22-24 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily

During those times, drivers from each direction will take turns crossing the bridge under the guidance of workers displaying flags and stop signs. Drivers should expect delays and be alert for crews who will be adding 10 feet of pavement roughly between the Go Gas store and the river’s edge.

Once the asphalt is added, drivers on March 24 will be shifted onto the new pavement; and they will continue to use the bridge in a two-way pattern as before.

The NC Department of Transportation last year awarded a $23.3 million contract to Smith-Rowe LLC of Mount Airy to construct a four-lane bridge alongside the existing one, which used to carry only southbound traffic. (The northbound bridge has been demolished.) The new bridge will be built in phases, allowing bridge traffic over the river during construction.

The project is scheduled to be completed and all four lanes opened by May 2024.