The new bridge relieved major traffic congestion and enhance the Morehead City downtown area.
“Traffic backs up for a mile or a half a mile, and that happens daily,” said Richard Stanley, Chairman of the Carteret County Transportation Committee.
The Graydon Paul bascule drawbridge was the source of this bottleneck, averaging 3,500 openings a year to allow boat traffic to pass through Gallants Channel. Built in 1957 and functionally obsolete because parts to repair the drawbridge are no longer available, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) decided to build a new bridge.
Conti constructed the new fixed span elevated Radio Island Bridge along with a new 3.8 mile highway section of US-70 which will allow through traffic to bypass the town of Beaufort, eliminating further congestion. The elevated bridge has a 65-foot vertical clearance to accommodate boat traffic. This project included a reinforced concrete deck with epoxy coated rebar, concrete piles, massive post tensioned concrete bridge girders, demolition, retaining walls, sound walls and significant drainage including 72-inch reinforced concrete pipe culverts, earthwork and asphalt paving. Major coordination was needed among nearly 20 agencies such as the United States Coast Guard, United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Federal Aviation Administration.
According to NCDOT’s studies, the new bridge has a $22 million positive economic impact for North Carolina. This project was very high profile and documented regularly by the North Carolina press.
North Carolina Department of Transportation