The new bridge to Surf City and Topsail in North Carolina will open 10 months early, according to The Star News in Wilmington.
The bridge, slated to open September 2019 after the busy summer tourist season, will now open Tuesday, the newspaper reported.
The $54-million bridge will replace an existing swing bridge that runs over the Intracoastal Waterway, according to the N.C. Department of Transportation.
“The new bridge will have a 65-foot vertical clearance that will not need to open for vessels in the waterway, eliminating vehicle and vessel traffic delays from the bridge opening and closing,” the NCDOT explained.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
The new bridge means traffic, which gets especially busy during peak tourist season, will not have to wait when the bridge opens to allow boats through the waterway.
“We are about a year ahead of schedule to put traffic on the bridge. So just to reiterate, that means our team has delivered this project a year ahead of schedule,” said NCDOT engineer Trevor Carroll told Spectrum News.
Construction began September 2016, according to the NCDOT.
Contractor Balfour Beatty could get $10,000 for each day the bridge is opened early under its contract with the state, WECT reports. The maximum incentive was increased from 100 days early to 300 days, the television station explained earlier this year.
Carroll told the Port City Daily that the contractor still has work to do to finish the road, paving roundabouts on either side of the bridge and completing the pedestrian path.