Wil-Cox bridge repair advancing

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 15, 2011

N.C. Department of Transportation
Repair work on the historic Wil-Cox Bridge, which formerly carried U.S. 29/70 southbound traffic over the Yadkin River in Davidson and Rowan counties, has reached the halfway point.
Despite harsh winter weather and spring storms, crews have made significant progress removing deteriorated concrete from the 89-year-old bridge and strengthening its support system since work began in December.
“Workers are using careful precision to preserve the bridge’s unique architecture while making the necessary safety improvements,” said Pat Ivey, N.C. Department of Transportation Division 9 engineer. “Once the project is complete, we will turn ownership of the bridge over to Davidson County for citizens to enjoy as a pedestrian bridge for many years to come.”
Crews are using motorized platforms to access areas alongside and underneath the bridge where the concrete has weakened over the years. With small, handheld jackhammers, they chip off the old concrete. Workers collect the pieces they remove in buckets, which they hoist to the bridge’s surface and empty into containers for disposal. Large tarps are also set up underneath the bridge to capture any stray pieces of concrete that fall during the removal process. These measures were put in place to protect the environment.
In the next few weeks, the Department of Transportation expects temperatures to be consistently warm enough to apply new concrete to the spots where crews removed the damaged concrete.
Crews are also removing key structural components of the bridge, mainly at the connections between the columns and the bridge’s surface, and replacing them with new, stronger material.
These improvements are expected to be complete by July. At that time, the Wil-Cox Bridge will be ready to carry all U.S. 29/70 traffic across the river as crews replace the northbound U.S. 29/70 bridge. These are both elements of the $201.5 million Interstate 85 Corridor Improvement Project, which will replace a total of eight bridges, reconstruct the interchange at Belmont Road, and widen 6.1 miles of I-85 in Davidson and Rowan counties.