NCDOT closing Bethlehem Church Road bridge

There will be a road closure on Bethlehem Church Road beginning at noon Wednesday for bridge maintenance, according to NCDOT.

The single-lane bridge is over Long Creek near Aquadale. The bridge will be closed for about a year.

After a recent inspection, the bridge was found to be in poor shape and the posting limit was reduced to two tons from 15 to 19 tons. The two ton limit “is not safe for vehicular travel,” said Brad Eagle, NCDOT Division 10 bridge maintenance engineer.

The goal is to replace the bridge, Eagle said. NCDOT is currently working towards designing a new bridge and is scheduled to replace it in 2023, though the department is exploring ways to accelerate the project, according to a NCDOT press release.

The one-lane bridge was built in 1950 and reconstructed in 1982 and carries an average of 220 vehicles per day.

While the bridge is closed, traffic will follow a 4.3-mile detour using Bethlehem Church Road, Barbee’s Grove Road, N.C. Highway 138 and Old Aquadale Road.

Advanced warning signs will be posted to alert drivers to the closure.