Bridge work could impact boaters at Wrightsville Beach

The works will last all fall.
Part of the safety span on the South Banks Channel Bridge is complete (Photo: NCDOT)

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) – Work on the South Banks Channel Bridge in Wrightsville Beach could impact boaters over the next few months.

According to a press release from Wrightsville Beach and the North Carolina Department of Transportation, from now until the fall, repairs to preserve the bridge are taking place seven days a week. During this time, clearance between the bridge and water will be reduced, meaning most boaters will have to take an alternate route.

They may seem harmless, but at high speeds the cables suspended during construction of the South Banks Channel Bridge could pose a serious hazard to distracted boaters.

Sea Tow captain Scott Collins said he noticed the three-quarter-inch cables on Wednesday during construction.

“So it’s necessary for what they’re doing,” Collins said, “but it just needs to be marked a little better. Especially at night. It’s quite dangerous.

Collins took the warning to social media, alerting Sea Tow subscribers to the cables. Collins says that even though the cables are on, the lights are quite dim. He thinks they might not be enough for unconscious high-speed boaters.

“After being on the water last night the cable is almost invisible and the lights are also very dim, be careful and pass it on,” Sea Tow wrote in a post on its Facebook page.

“When you get to the deck, slow speed, no wake,” he explained. “But, you know, a lot of times that gets ignored. And if you go and travel at night at high speed across this bridge, you won’t see it at all.

After the lay, NCDOT and the Coast Guard issued alerts Friday, telling the public to seek an alternate route.

The NCDOT indicates that the contractor took the following precautions:

• Yellow safety ropes have been positioned and marked on the south and north exterior columns of the bridge to prevent boaters from entering an area with cables for the safety bay, which is a temporary working platform under the bridge

• Cables are flagged along the safety span, which continues to be built

• Dawn to dusk hazard warning lights have been positioned on deck to provide nighttime awareness

• Two construction signs have been placed on the south and north sides of the bridge warning boaters of low clearance and to use an alternate route.

Although the cables were only four feet above the water at high tide, some boaters dodged the cables and continued on until Friday. Collins says crossing that area could lead to damage or injury.

Collins: “It would definitely, you know, maybe rip the top off. The console turned off if it had a console in the middle. So if you stand behind, in front, you can only imagine what would happen to a person.

Journalist: “So it could also cause harm to a person? »

Collin: “Absolutely.

The repairs and the cable will block the waterway until August, when the boating and tourist season will be at its peak.

Until it breaks down, Collins says to take things slow and find another route.

“Come on up, check it out, take a look at it…but keep an appropriate distance.”

The NCDOT says these precautions will be reviewed often to ensure they are visible and working to alert the public to these changes.


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