New bridge, higher guardrails and possible greenway coming to this stretch of Eno River

The 78-year-old bridge that carries U.S. 70 Bypass over the Eno River east of Hillsborough will soon be replaced.

Contractors will begin the two-year project this summer by building a temporary detour bridge parallel to the existing one. Once traffic is shifted over, the existing bridge will be demolished and the new one built in its place, said Aaron Moody, spokesman for the N.C. Department of Transportation.

The construction work shouldn’t cause drivers much trouble, Moody said.

“Once they shift the traffic, people using that road shouldn’t even notice any difference,” he said.

The new two-lane bridge will be about a foot wider than the existing one, with 4-foot-wide paved shoulders on both sides. The main difference that drivers and cyclists will notice is that the 4 1/2-foot concrete and steel guardrails on the new bridge will be twice as high as the old ones.

The new bridge also was designed to make room for a future greenway that could one day pass underneath it. It will be 265 feet long, 27 feet longer than the current one.

Replacing the bridge will cost $4.8 million, and the new bridge is expected to last for 75 years, according to the NCDOT.

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Richard Stradling covers transportation for The News & Observer. Planes, trains and automobiles, plus ferries, bicycles, scooters and just plain walking. Also, #census2020. He’s been a reporter or editor for 32 years, including the last 20 at The N&O. 919-829-4739, rstradling@newsobserver.com.