Drivers in west Cary can expect a significant detour during the construction of a new bridge on Green Level Church Road. A Department of Transportation contractor will begin a lengthy replacement of the White Oak Creek crossing, north of Green Level Church’s intersection with Jenks Road.
The eight months of construction, scheduled to begin as soon as Aug. 1, will add about two miles to most commutes that use the section of Green Level Church Road, which is a major north-south corridor along the town’s western edge. In particular, the detour will affect residents of Cary Park who are trying to reach downtown Apex, and vice versa.
At 60 years old, the bridge is nearing the end of its safe lifespan, especially given the growth in the area, said Mark Craig, a regional bridge program manager for the state Department of Transportation.
“You can see the growth in the area,” he said. “You can see Cary come down with a four-lane divided highway on Green Level Church.”
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Already, about 7,900 cars per day cross the bridge, which consists of a concrete top laid across a timber structure. Its “structural sufficiency” rating is seven out of 100, according to a biennial survey, and the DOT considers the bridge “functionally obsolete.”
That doesn’t mean the bridge is unsafe, Craig said, but instead indicates that the structure is a top priority for replacement and isn’t designed to current standards.
“It was never intended to (carry) this amount of traffic on a daily basis,” he explained. “Can it carry it for the next two or three years? Yeah, fine, but eventually you’re going to have to do something.” He added that the bridge definitely remains safe.
The detour, which will begin between August and March, will send drivers along Green Level West Road, Wimberly Road, and Jenks Road. The new bridge, which will include a ten-foot sidewalk, is expected to cost about $2.5 million and will be built with federal funding.