Midtown Raleigh News

Bridge replacements to begin soon in southwest Raleigh

A series of bridge replacements near Lake Johnson is expected to begin this spring, bringing traffic detours to southwest Raleigh.

The work will begin on Trailwood Drive in the next two months with the replacement of a state bridge over Walnut Creek, just south of Avent Ferry Road.

Raleigh officials expect construction to take about a year, which means it likely will wrap up before bridge replacement projects begin in 2016 on Avent Ferry over Lake Johnson and Lake Dam Road over Walnut Creek.

“Our goal is to not have three bridges closed at one time,” said Eric Lamb, the city’s transportation planning manager.

The primary detour during the closures will be Gorman Street.

Lamb said city staff members are working with the N.C. Department of Transportation to complete all three projects before the state begins widening the Interstate 440 Beltline between I-40 and Wade Avenue. They’re also coordinating the bridge replacements with any needed greenway improvements.

The new state bridge at Trailwood Drive will be wider and include a center turn lane, bicycle lanes and sidewalks on both sides. The city’s share of the $1.7 million project is $289,000.

The other two projects, on Avent Ferry and Lake Dam, are expected to wrap up by the end of 2017.

The bridge over Avent Ferry, on a state road, is “functionally obsolete,” according to DOT. While safe, it needs improvements to meet future traffic demands.

The new bridge will have bicycle lanes and sidewalks on both sides.

Lake Dam Road bridge

The Lake Dam bridge, on a city street, closed a year ago because of structural damage. City officials considered repairing the bridge to extend its life for a few years, but opted for a full replacement.

The proposed repair would have cost about $500,000 and would have helped the bridge to last for several years before it would need to be fully replaced. Workers wouldn’t have known until they began the repairs whether there was more extensive damage inside the bridge built in 1966.

Lamb said a replacement will be less expensive in the long term and require one long closure rather than two short ones.

The $825,000 Lake Dam project is eligible for federal bridge replacement funds that cover 80 percent of construction costs. The city will pay the remaining $165,000 and $207,000 in design costs.

Councilwoman Kay Crowder asked city staff to study whether a temporary traffic signal could be placed at the intersection of Tryon and Lake Dam roads during construction to ease travel for residents.

She also asked city staff to add information about the project timelines to the city’s website.

Barr: 919-836-4952;

Twitter: @barrmsarah