On June 4, the $1.6 million replacement Lords Creek Bridge in New Hanover County, N.C., opened to traffic. Just two months later, the county is reporting issues with the roadway leading to the bridge.
WWay 3 reports that the road is beginning to sink, causing a small crack to open up between the bridge and the road. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is investigating the problem.
“Some of the roads along the waterways have poor, compressible soils that extend very deep below the surface,” says NCDOT’s Brian Rick in a statement, according to the news agency. “It is difficult to predict how these soils will react when there is an existing road already there, such as this location, and we add a minimal amount of additional embankment (weight) onto it, in order to raise the elevation of the bridge.
“We take measures to minimize these impacts, but the engineering for some of these unknowns is very challenging,” Rick added. “In most cases where these poor soils are present, the settlement is negligible, but sometimes it is more extensive, unfortunately. The crack that is present here is strictly a settlement issue. The bridge itself is on a very deep pile foundation and is not a concern.”