The N.C. Department of Transportation hopes to have the Oakwoods Road bridge over Cub Creek in Wilkesboro reopened to traffic by Friday, said a DOT spokesman Monday.
DOT engineers in Raleigh decided the bridge could be safely reopened with the simpler of two repair options, added Andrew P. Glasco, transportation supervisor II in bridge maintenance for the DOT’s Wilkes and Caldwell county districts.
The other option would mean keeping the bridge closed for another three weeks, said Glasco. It’s been closed since April 15, when a routine bridge inspection found repairs were needed.
Completing work in time to open the two-lane bridge to traffic Friday depends on the weather this week, he added.
“As of now, we’re going to replace three post-tensioning cables and make minor repairs to the concrete channel legs” starting Tuesday.
The concrete channel legs are the bridge deck’s 12 precast slabs of concrete that run the length of the bridge (on its underside) over Cub Creek. Some of the 12 have deteriorated to the point where pieces of concrete are broken off.
Post-tensioning cables are steel cables running horizontally through the concrete slabs to hold them tightly together with steel hardware on ends of each cable on either side of the bridge.
The inspection found that three of these horizontal steel cables holding the bridge deck’s 12 precast slabs of concrete tightly together had failed.
Glasco said the three-week repair option meant replacing two to four of the 12 concrete slabs. It would be a considerably bigger job requiring use of a crane and dismantling more of the current bridge structure.
The three-span Oakwoods Road bridge over Cub Creek was constructed in 1969. It underwent major repairs with placement of a couple of steel I-beams lengthwise under the bridge several years ago.
The bridge’s weight limit was reduced to 19 tons for single vehicles and 25 tons for tractor-trailers some time back.
In the DOT’s current Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), right of way acquisition for a new Oakwoods Road bridge over Cub Creek is scheduled to start in June 2026 and construction in June 2028.