N.C. 16 Business bridge repairs complete

Traffic is returning to normal on N.C. 16 Business near downtown Conover — for now.

This week, the N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) completed repairs to the N.C. 16 Business bridge over U.S. 70. Meanwhile, work is expected to begin soon to replace an aging N.C. 16 bridge over Interstate 40.

Repairs to the bridge over U.S. 70 were the result of a truck scraping underneath and damaging the bridge, said Rodney Gantt, a bridge maintenance engineer who works in Catawba and Lincoln counties.

Gantt said bridge workers believe equipment from a large truck may have damaged the bottom of the bridge. During the project, crews observed grease marks on the beams.

Repair work began Jan. 4, leading to several closures of U.S. 70 and nighttime detours for drivers on N.C. 16 Business.

"It's now in much better shape than it was," he said. "Work was mostly done with lane closures. ...We closed U.S. 70 maybe four times. We had requested five closures."

Gantt said cones that closed the turn lane across the bridge on N.C. 16 Business are being removed, and the traffic pattern is returning to normal.

"But that bridge is still a bit low," he said. "There's a possibility it could be hit again."

Other projects
* NCDOT district officials say a project to replace the N.C. 16 Business bridge over Interstate 40 north of downtown Conover is still slated to begin this month. The bridge over I-40 will be demolished, and eastbound and westbound lanes of I-40 will close periodically during the project.

* NCDOT began resurfacing work Monday night on I-40. Eastbound lanes are currently closed between exits 130 and 133, from 9 p.m.-6 a.m. Signs direct drivers onto U.S. 70 and back to I-40.