A bridge on Lake Dam Road in southwest Raleigh that closed a year ago because of structural damage could remain closed until 2017.
When the city closed the concrete deck bridge over Walnut Creek, just below the Lake Johnson Dam, city staff said the closure could last several months as they waited to make repairs.
Now, Raleigh officials may opt instead to replace the 49-year-old bridge entirely.
Christopher McGee, manager of Transportation Field Services, said the proposed repair would have cost about $500,000 and would have allowed the bridge to last for several years.
But workers wouldn’t have known until they began the repairs whether there is more extensive damage inside the bridge built in 1966.
“There was no guarantee that would be a sure fix,” McGee said.
Another option is to replace the bridge entirely, work that likely would be finished some time in 2017.
Federal funding would pay for 80 percent of the $900,000 replacement cost, meaning the city would pay $180,000, McGee said.
McGee said the city council will likely discuss the options in the coming weeks.
Lake Dam Road connects Avent Ferry and Tryon roads, which remain open on either side of the bridge. The parallel pedestrian bridge and nearby parking for a greenway trail also are open.
Joe Matthews, who has used Lake Dam Road to get from his home near Lake Wheeler to his job at N.C. State, said the closure has been an inconvenience.
“You would think there would be a sense of urgency to try to get this fixed,” he said.
The city closed the bridge after a routine inspection by an engineering firm found wear to two beams in one span of the bridge and recommended closure. The bridge was not at risk of collapsing, but the failure of the beams could have produced a hole in the pavement.
At the time, the bridge already was scheduled for replacement in three or four years.