Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Where does the asphalt go?

UPDATE: Our ops folks say that they have now decided to place a layer of asphalt on top of the bridge deck to provide more non-skid protection in wet weather. That will also make the ride quality across the metal deck panels better.

Recently, one of our followers on Twitter asked how we would put asphalt on the temporary bridge being installed at the breach on Pea Island. It’s hard enough explaining technical engineering details, let alone in 140 characters so we thought we’d get into a bit more detail here.

Our chief of operations says assembling the bridge is sort of like putting together a stage at a country music concert.  It has panels that are placed on a framework that extends out across the water.  That becomes the actual surface that cars and other vehicles will ride across.  That’s part of what makes the structure temporary.  So, no asphalt is needed.  At least for the bridge.

Down the road several miles, it’s a different story.  Hurricane Irene cut several other breaches near the town of Rodanthe, in a section of the highway known to locals as the S-curves. There, the protective dunes are being rebuilt, the crumbled, destroyed asphalt removed, and the bed for the road is being built up and replaced. In this section of N.C. 12, we will be putting down new asphalt where the roadway was washed away.

So, while most of the attention has been on construction and completion of the interesting and unique temporary bridge, the highway can’t reopen until all parts of the project are finished, including repair of the S-curves. 

There are several sections of roadway at each end of the temporary bridge where we are building the road above the current highway that will need new asphalt as well.

Weather is acting up this week. Yesterday, all but the sandbagging had to stop for a while because of thunderstorms.  Rain isn't great for taking pictures either, and apparently salty air isn't great for digital cameras! As soon as we have new pics, we'll get 'em up.

In the meantime, here are the latest stats:

Piling:  53 piles driven out of 82 total piles.
Concrete Footings:  6 footings poured out of 12 total footings.
Bridge Bearing Supports:  0 bearings installed out of 12 total bearing supports.


  1. Appreciate your communication. Still hoping for 9 October completion

  2. Thanks rodnbow. Our goal remains early October weather permitting.