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Coast Guard To Create Safety Zone During Snow's Cut Bridge Project

A view from atop Snow's Cut Bridge looking west towards the Cape Fear River. The U.S. Coast Guard is planning to create a safety-zone for vessels traveling the waterway during an upcoming bridge rehab project. The public can submit comments on the proposed project until September 20.

Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The upcoming Snow's Cut Bridge rehab project is to begin sometime this coming fall. In anticipation of that project, the U.S. Coast Guard will implement a safety zone in the waterway to ensure safe passage amid bridge construction.
According to the Federal Register at www.federalregister.gov the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has awarded a contract to American Bridge Company of Virginia Beach, Virginia to perform bridge maintenance on the U.S. 421 Fixed Bridge crossing the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, mile 295.6, at Carolina Beach, North Carolina. The contract provides for cleaning, painting, and steel repair to commence on December 20, 2012 with a completion date of October 31, 2013. The contractor will utilize a 40 foot by 60 foot sectional barge as a work platform and for equipment staging.
The Coast Guard proposes to establish a temporary safety zone on the waters of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway at Carolina Beach. The safety zone is necessary to provide for the safety of mariners on navigable waters during maintenance on the U.S. 421 Fixed Bridge crossing the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, mile 295.6, at Carolina Beach, North Carolina. The safety zone will temporarily restrict vessel movement within the designated area starting on December 20, 2012 through October 31, 2013.
The Coast Guard believes that a safety zone is needed to provide a safety buffer to transiting vessels as bridge repairs present potential hazards to mariners and property due to reduction of horizontal clearance.
The safety zone would be in effect from 8 a.m. December 20, 2012 through 8 p.m. October 31, 2013. During this period the Coast Guard would require a one hour notification to the work supervisor for passage through the U.S. 421 Fixed Bridge along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, mile 295.6, Carolina Beach, North Carolina. The bridge notification requirement would apply during the maintenance period for vessels requiring a horizontal clearance of greater than 60 feet.
According to the Coast Guard, this proposed rule would affect the following entities, some of which may be small entities: The owners or operators of commercial tug and barge companies, recreational and commercial fishing vessels intending to transit the specified portion of Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.
The Coast Guard explains the safety zone would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities for the following reasons. The Coast Guard states, "Although the safety zone will apply to this section of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, vessel traffic will be able to request passage by providing a one hour advanced notification to the work supervisor. Before the effective period, the Coast Guard will issue maritime advisories widely available to the users of the waterway."
You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG-2012-0741 using any one of the following methods:
(1) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
(2) Fax: 202-493-2251.
(3) Mail or Delivery: Docket Management Facility (M-30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590-0001. Deliveries accepted between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays. The telephone number is 202-366-9329.
To submit your comment online, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type the docket number (USCG-2012-0741) in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.” Click on “Submit a Comment” on the line associated with this rulemaking.
Snow's Cut Bridge leading onto Pleasure Island turned 50 years old in 2011. North Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary Gene Conti announced Tuesday June 5th, NCDOT has awarded a $4.6 million contract to American Bridge Co. of Coraopolis, Pa. to preserve the bridge over Snows Cut on U.S. 421 in Carolina Beach. The bridge was built in the 1960's and needs attention to areas weathered by the elements over the decades.
According to Amanda T. Glynn, PE, NCDOT Division Bridge Program Manager the rehab project likely won't start until after Labor Day and is scheduled for completion in 390 days after the start date.
This bridge will be rehabilitated using a new resurfacing technique called hydro-demolition. During this resurfacing process, the deteriorated concrete on the bridge deck will be removed in part using high-pressure water, and the bridge will be resurfaced using high-strength concrete.
Hydro-demolition is more precise than traditional pavement removal with a jackhammer, and it reduces the potential for damage to the bridge.  In addition, hydro-demolition is safer and faster than traditional demolition methods and minimizes the impact to traffic.
Before the rehab project could begin, a separate project was completed last month to install guardrails on both sides of the approaches onto and off of Pleasure Island.
In recent years vehicles have driven off the road just before the bridge, rolling down a steep hill.
Glynn explained earlier this year that hydro-demolition involves using a machine jetting water under high pressure at the road surface to remove typically one to one and a half inches of loose or deteriorated concrete. Sometimes there are deeper areas depending on the condition of the road surface which varies from one area to the next.
After that, a latex modified concrete will be put down to protect the underlying concrete and superstructure from salt intrusion.
During the project travel lanes will be restricted at times.
Glynn said the lane restriction schedule will allow the contractor to work during daylight hours when temperatures will be more favorable for laying down the latex concrete and painting sections of the bridge.
In addition to hydro-demolition, the contract also includes painting of structural steel and repairs to substructure concrete.
NCDOT hopes that the time restrictions will allow the contractor to complete the project with as little disruption as possible to traffic during the day and to residents living near the bridge at night."
Built in 1961, Snow’s Cut Bridge is the only bridge serving Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Fort Fisher on Pleasure Island. It receives periodic maintenance and a full inspection every two years.
This is one of 30 contracts totaling $109.3 million recently awarded by Conti for highway and bridge projects across North Carolina. NCDOT awarded the contracts to the lowest bidders, as required by state law. The bids received on the projects awarded came in about 3.9 percent, or $4.4 million, below NCDOT estimates.