The Beaman Street bridge is closed for at least the next couple weeks for a utility relocation project, and will reopen for a short period before shutting down again for a six-month replacement endeavor extending until the fall.
Planning for the project began in earnest in the fall of 2016, when N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) informed the City of Clinton that the bridge was selected for replacement. As part of a multi-step process between the city and DOT, utilities were located and a consultant was brought in to work with city officials through the design.
About a year later, in September 2017, the City Council approved a bid from Herring Rivenbark for utility relocation in the amount of $431,050 after reviewing the bids over the summer. That is the base bid, with a 10 percent contingency and engineering fees not included. The city is fronting the funds for that, but will be 100 percent reimbursed by N.C. DOT, according to City engineer Russell Byrd.
The utility relocation began this week.
“It should be completed by the end of February, weather permitting,” Byrd said of the utility replacement. “We hope to be in and out of there at no net cost to the city. We just want to ensure that the infrastructure is sound. As we’ve done with N.C. 24, the goal with any (utility relocation) is to complete it in conjunction or ahead of the DOT project.”
“Once that is completed, the actual bridge itself will be replaced,” he added.
There is no estimate for how much the bridge replacement will cost. Bids are due to DOT by Feb. 15 and Byrd said that entire project is being handled by the state, which is paying it. According to DOT plans, the bridge replacement is a six-month project, with an April 3 start date and a completion date slated for October.
“The existing bridge is much smaller than the new one will be,” said Byrd. “That new bridge will be much wider and much longer.”
Moving water and sewer to the west side of the bridge, as well as having Duke Progress coming in to move its utilities, was a necessary measure to “get out of the way of the bridge, so we can work on those utilities when we need to,” Byrd explained. “It’s always better to be proactive and move utilities first. Along with that, we will be replacing all the old pipe that is decrepit and putting in superior pipe.”
Clinton Urgent Care, the Clinton Fire Department’s Beaman Street station and Billy’s Tires are affected, as are residents on Peterson Street and McArthur Lane, which now serve as the primary detour from Beaman Street to U.S. 701 Business and back around. The Beaman Street station will be able to utilize its Peterson Street to access and exit the station. Access is also available to Billy’s and Clinton Urgent Care from the direction of North Boulevard.
Amber Cava, vice president of Strategy & Business Development for Sampson Regional, said hospital officials were clued in by the city to expect some work, but the state never gave a clear timeline.
”We are still unsure how long the closure will impact us,” Cava said earlier this week.
A message from Cava, posted to social media and the Clinton Urgent Care website as soon as construction began, stated: “Clinton Urgent Care is open for business, despite road closure!”
It went on, “The bridge on Beaman Street is closed by N.C. DOT for project work. During the road closure, all north bound traffic on Beaman Street will follow a detour route. The detour route accesses 701 Business and brings drivers back to Beaman Street using connecting streets. We apologize greatly for the inconvenience but assure you we are only a quick detour away and still open during our regular posted business hours to care for you.”
Planning for the bridge replacement began in 2016 when DOT selected the Beaman Street location as part of a biannual study that factors in bridge condition, then prioritizes needs based on available funds.
“We’re trying to make it as seamless as possible and minimize the impact to citizens,” Byrd said.
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.