Plans to fix Kannapolis bridge on hold indefinitely

by: Stephanie Coueignoux Updated:


KANNAPOLIS, N.C. - A decaying Kannapolis bridge is closed indefinitely because of a standstill between North Carolina Department of Transportation crews and Duke Energy.
Power lines near the bridge are preventing crews from safely replacing rusted beams.
“It's like they'll fly down this road anyways and then it's like ‘errrr.’ They stomp on their brakes because they see those signs,” said Alyssa Ward.

For weeks now, Ward has seen drivers turning around in a day care parking lot once they realize Fisher Lake Bridge is still blocked.

“We're worried about the safety of the children," she said.
We've learned it could be several more months before crews finally repair the bridge. Initially, it was scheduled to re-open this Friday.
NCDOT officials said they've stopped repairs because of these power lines. The lines are a safety risk to crews who need to use a crane to replace decaying beams.
 “At this point, we're waiting on the bridge engineering staff in Raleigh to look over several scenarios,” NCDOT spokeswoman Jen Thompson said.
Duke Energy, which operates the power lines, can either cut power until the repairs are done or move the beams to a safe distance.
Duke Energy officials told Channel 9 the bridge just isn't safe for them to put their equipment on the bridge, and move those power poles.
Since these liners are part of a main feeder, cutting power would impact hundreds of customers.
Duke Energy officials said they prepare not to do that in the middle of summer.

“If we had power cut out, we wouldn't be able to open that up to parents," Ward said.

Thompson doesn't know how long the power would have to be out. 

“No matter what, there is going to be some disruption of some kind,” she said.
Ward said she’s already tired of what she’s called a chaotic few weeks.

“We're just ready for everything to be back to normal,” she said.

The bridge is scheduled to be replaced in 2016.
We asked if it would be easier to rebuild now.
Thompson said they haven't ruled that out.
NCDOT hopes to agree on a plan by the end of this month.