Beaman Street is closed for a bridge replacement project that is anticipated to take six months, extending through the beginning of 2019. The closure, which began Tuesday, could last longer than that as winter months are likely to bring weather delays.
The closed segment is a familiar pass-through to many motorists who use it as a connector from the heart of Clinton to U.S. 421 and U.S. 701. The portion, located in the area of Clinton Urgent Care and the fire station, will be the site of bridge work, which initially had an expected April start date and a projected October completion. However, necessary utility relocation, which closed the street for a span earlier this year, delayed matters for months.
“The contractor has moved equipment in today and the road is officially closed,” Keith Eason, district engineer for the N.C. Department of Transportation in Sampson and Duplin, told The Independent on Tuesday. “The project was delayed due to utility conflicts and should be complete in approximately six months.”
Starting Tuesday morning, motorists were being detoured to U.S. 701 Business along side streets Peterson Street and McArthur Lane. Sampson Regional Medical Center officials urged patients to follow detours in reaching Clinton Urgent Care, which will continue to operate on regular business hours during the street closure.
The small section was closed from the end of January to the end of April for the utility relocation before being opened again. With still other utility relocation to be done, the street was opened to traffic in the meantime. In May, Eason expressed his hope the needed utility work could be finished by June and the six-month bridge replacement could begin. That didn’t happen, but three months later, it is now underway.
Planning for the project began in earnest in the fall of 2016, when N.C. DOT informed the City of Clinton that the Beaman Street bridge was selected for replacement as part of a biannual study that factors in bridge condition, then prioritizes needs based on available funds. As part of a multi-step process between the city and N.C. 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 the state, according to City engineer Russell Byrd.
“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,” Byrd said earlier this year. “Once that is completed, the actual bridge itself will be replaced. The existing bridge is much smaller than the new one will be. 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 — replacing decrepit pipe with superior material — 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 has explained. “It’s always better to be proactive and move utilities first.”
U.S. 701 work ongoing
Eason said motorists being detoured from Beaman Street to U.S. 701 shouldn’t be further impacted by the ongoing U.S. 701 resurfacing, which could take until the end of the year.
That U.S. 701 resurfacing contract was let to Barnhill Contracting Company last year. In all, the $14.2 million project totals approximately 28 miles on U.S. 701 and U.S. 13 in Sampson. There is no expense to the city or county, with funds coming from the state.
The U.S. 701 project has encompassed two different segments totaling about 20 miles, the first extending from 7th Street in Garland to the U.S. 701/421 Bypass, and the other including U.S. 701 Business through Clinton extending north to Hobbton Highway.
That work moved quickly from the south to the north of Clinton, but there is still some touches to be done, including a “final lift” to even out the asphalt, especially around dozens of manholes in the paths of travel.
“The U.S. 701 resurfacing project is still ongoing but should not pose a problem with the detour for the bridge closure. The detour for the bridge is signed and there will only be intermittent lane closures on U.S. 701,” Eason pointed out. “One final lift of asphalt is remaining on U.S. 701. The contractor has until December to complete and they are currently pursuing the work on 701 South and then should move into town.”
Managing Editor Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 2587.